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September 2010 Archives

Eastern Students to Perform at Vocal Masterclass

Written by Kate Harner

Willimantic, CT -- Students from Eastern Connecticut State University's music program will present the Vocal Masterclass, a singing performance by individuals taking voice lessons with Jennifer Ashe, assistant professor in Eastern's Performing Arts Department. The Vocal Masterclass will be held at 10 a.m. on Oct. 8 in Shafer Hall Room 216. The public is invited. Admission is free.

The repertoire features American composers Aaron Copland and Charles Ives. Songs include Copland's "At the River" and "I Bought Me a Cat," as well as Ives' "Songs My Mother Taught Me" and "Slow March," among others.

Ashe will direct each student's singing, which includes piano accompaniment by Rebecca Calissi, adjunct professor in Eastern's Performing Arts Department. The performance is a learning experience for the singers: "The students will sing through their songs, and then I will address a specific technical issue to work on," says Ashe. "They will then go back and try to make adjustments. In this way, all of the students learn from each other."

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


Eastern Professor's Art Installed in Farmington

Written by Kate Harner

Willimantic, CT -- An art proposal by Brad Guarino, lecturer in Eastern Connecticut State University's Visual Arts Department, has been chosen for a new building project at Tunxis Community College in Farmington, CT. The installation, "Climb," will be erected in 2013 upon the completion of Tunxis' 600 Building.

The installation will consist of 50 mirror-finish, stainless steel silhouettes of human figures. Tunxis students and faculty will pose for the silhouettes, which will mimic humans climbing and hiking uphill. The reflections of the mirrored surfaces will alter at each angle from which the viewer is looking in order to represent a constantly changing environment. "Climb" represents the educational process and the challenges students face. The installation will evoke a feeling of community with its figures helping each other during their climb and rope forms connecting them to each other.

"'Climb' is a metaphor for the educational journey - overcoming obstacles, leaving the past behind and striving to become something better," says Guarino. "Education, like climbing, is a communal pursuit that requires planning, perseverance and risk; in both cases, the journey is in large part the goal."

For more information, contact Carla Sheldon at (860) 465-0197 or


Eastern Students Run into Moose on Mt. Washington

Written by Tim Talley

Outdoors Club  Mt Washington 2.jpgWillimantic, Conn. - Ten Eastern Connecticut State University students from the Eastern Outdoors Club and their advisors recently traveled to the White Mountains in New Hampshire to climb Mt. Washington, New England's highest peak. All 12 hikers successfully made the 4.2 mile climb, 6,266 feet above sea level.


The Moose the BEST.JPG 

The Moose.jpg

            As they worked their way up the Tuckerman Ravine trail towards the summit, the group spotted a moose. "For most of the climbers, we had never encountered a moose before," said Michael Hislop, a senior from East Lyme and president of the Eastern Outdoors Club. "Not more than 30 minutes into the climb, a female moose was eating along the trail. The moose calmly and quietly made its way down the trail in our direction. After about 20 minutes of waiting, one at a time, each hiker moved slowly and quietly past the moose, who did not seem bothered in the slightest. Our views at the summit were limited by clouds and rain, but this moose sighting more than made up for it."

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            "The whole experience was a life-changing event for all the students," said Norma Vivar-Orum, sustainable energy assistant and one of the advisors for the group. "The bonds formed between the students involved were cemented for all time. They will never forget it. None of us will."

            Future excursions for the Eastern Outdoors Club include hosting local hikes to Mashamoquet State Park and Valley Falls; attending the Connecticut Rock Gym; a camping trip to Pachaug State Forest; and a visit to Adirondack Extreme, an outdoor obstacle course/canopy tour. 

            Outdoors Club members who participated in the climb included Hislop, Hannah Ojard of Vernon Rockville, Natalie Ortega of Stamford, Nick Denegre of Centerbrook, Dan Smith of Manchester, Jennifer Smith of East Hartford, Katelyn Vaughan of Hamden, Colleen Bonessi of Cheshire, Jisu Lim of Namyangju, Gyeonggido South Korea, and Lauren Kostak of North Canton along with the club's two advisors, Vivar-Orum and Fred Loxsom, Eastern's endowed chair in sustainable energy studies.


Chandler Howard New Executive-In-Residence

Written by Tim Talley

Chandler Howard.JPGWillimantic, Conn. - The Connecticut State University System Board of Trustees approved Chandler Howard, chief executive officer and president of Liberty Bank, as Eastern Connecticut State University's business executive-in-residence for the 2010-11 academic year at their Sept. 23 meeting.

            Widely considered as one of Connecticut's top banking executives, Howard was chairman and chief executive officer at Fleet Bank-Connecticut in 1996 and held a senior executive position when the bank merged with Bank of America in 2004.  A year later, he temporarily left the banking industry to become president and CEO of Connecticut Innovations, a quasi-public agency charged with promoting technology growth. Howard became the CEO of First City Fund Corp and was responsible for the development of New Haven's new Community Development Bank before working at Liberty Bank.

            Howard is the immediate past chairman of Connecticut's Charter Oak State College and served on the Governor's Task Force on the Future of the Regional Vocational-Technical High School System. He serves as president of the Liberty Bank Foundation, and has provided direct support for Liberty's ongoing tradition of awarding a variety of continuing higher education scholarships.

            Howard currently serves the executive committee of The United Way of the Capital Area; the board of trustees for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts; the advisory board of the Greater Hartford Urban League; and the Board of the Greater Hartford YMCA. Howard holds a bachelor's of arts degree from the University of Connecticut and a master's degree in finance from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

            As Eastern's Business-Executive-in-Residence, Howard will visit campus during the academic year to share his insights and business experience with students

Human Rights, Immigration Discussion at Eastern

Written by Tim Talley


Joshua Bardavid.JPGWillimantic, Conn. - Attorneys Joshua Bardavid and Teresa Woods from the Vera Institute of Justice will raise important questions about human rights and the use of immigration and detention laws within the United States at Eastern Connecticut State University at 3 p.m. on Oct. 6 in the Betty R. Tipton Room in Eastern's Student Center. The presentation is part of the Eastern's University Hour series. The public is invited. Admission is free.

            Bardavid and Woods will discuss their work as lawyers and advocates for immigrants. They will share stories of the individuals they have aided and represented, as well as their own treatment throughout the process.

            Bardavid has been lead counsel in several precedent-setting appeals and has successfully litigated hundreds of immigration cases. Prior to working as an immigration attorney, Bardavid worked as a consultant to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and was editor-in-chief of New York International Law Review. He graduated cum laude from St. John's University School of Law. 

Teresa Woods.JPG            Woods is a senior program associate for the Legal Orientation Program, a national program to provide immigrants in detention facilities with information on their legal rights and pro-bono legal assistance. Previously, she worked as an associate resettlement officer with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees through the International Catholic Migration Commission in countries such as Tanzania, Cambodia, Nepal and Costa Rica.  Woods was awarded a fellowship to work as a detention staff attorney with the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., where she represented indigent asylum seekers in detention and conducted know-your-rights presentations for detained immigrants in removal proceedings. Woods received her bachelor's degree from SUNY Purchase College and her Juris Doctor degree from St. John's University School of Law.

Khurshed Rastomji to Present Lecture Recital

Written by Tim Talley

Willimantic, Conn. - Khurshed Rastomji, a lecturer in the music program at Eastern Connecticut State University and at the Pomfret School, will present a lecture recital at 3 p.m. on Sept. 29 in Shafer Auditorium in Shafer Hall, located at the corner of Windham and Valley Streets in Willimantic. The presentation is part of the Eastern's University Hour series. The public is invited. Admission is free.

            Rastomji will present a program of Spanish piano music that will reflect the wave of nationalism that influenced the music of the late 19th century in Spain. He will focus especially on composers Isaac Albéniz and Enrique Granados, whose music draws on the wealth of Spanish folk melodies, dances and rhythms.

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

Eastern Selected for National Learning Project

Written by Ed Osborn

Willimantic, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University has been selected to participate in the national Learning-To-Improve Project.  Based on student responses to the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), Eastern has demonstrated improved performance over time in three key areas: active and collaborative learning, faculty-student interactions, and a supportive campus environment. The project -- undertaken by NSSE staff and funded by the Spencer Foundation -- aims to capture practices at Eastern and other exemplary institutions that resulted in these improvements. 

Graduating seniors at Eastern rate the University as an institution "committed to their success" and "cultivating positive working and social relations among different groups on campus." Freshmen report increased interaction with faculty in and out of the classroom, along with increased opportunities for collaboration with classmates to solve problems and to master difficult material.

            "These positive results reflect the core values - academic excellence, engagement, inclusion, integrity, empowerment, and social responsibility - that inform Eastern's commitment to student success," said Eastern President Elsa Núñez.  "We are encouraged by this recognition from our students and honored to participate in projects such as Learning to Improve."


Eastern to Perform "Quyne Paterson"

Written by Kate Harner

Quyne Paterson poster.jpgWillimantic, Conn. - Students from Eastern Connecticut State University's Theatre program will perform "Quyne Paterson" from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2 at the Harry Hope Theatre, located in Shafer Hall at the corner of High and Valley Streets. The show opens each night at 7:30 p.m. 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.

             "Quyne Paterson" was written by Charlie Cheng, who attended Eastern for several years and graduated from the Academy of Arts University in 2002. The play takes place in a diner on Dec. 1, 1941, in Bakersfield, CA. Quyne Paterson hopes to speak with his father for the first time in 12 years, an hour before he is deployed to Japan. However, Paterson ends up sitting with a stranger about whom he knows more than he initially thinks.

            Shane Kegler '10 directs the play under the guidance of Ellen Brodie, director of theatre. The cast includes Luke Reinwald '10, Gia Kilbrith '11, Ben Donnel '11, Shannon Delahanty '12 and Corey Welden '13.

            "The show is about looking into the past and accepting what happened," says Kegler. "It teaches us to forgive those who may have hurt us in the past. It's a great show, but it's also a complicated one. The writer Charlie Cheng did an amazing job writing the story in such a way that you don't see the twists and turns of the plot."

            Eastern students had performed the play last spring during a staged reading as part of the Phoenix New Play Series. Due to its popular reception, the Performing Arts Department decided to turn "Quyne Paterson" into a full-scale production.

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


Sylveen String Quartet Comes to Eastern

Written by Tim Talley

SylveenStringQuartetComestoEastern new.JPGWillimantic, Conn. - The Sylveen String Quartet will perform at Eastern Connecticut State University at 3 p.m. on Sept. 22 in the Paul E. Johnson Sr. Community Conference Room of the J. Eugene Smith Library. The recital is part of the Eastern's University Hour series. The public is invited. Admission is free.

            The quartet was founded in 2004 and consists of some of the most prominent musicians in Connecticut: Adrian Mackiewicz, Brunilda Myftaraj, Aaron Packard and Melissa Morgan. They perform regularly throughout New England and were featured at the prominent Kosciusko Foundation Concert series, which is hosted by the Massachusetts-based foundation designed to increase American understanding of Polish culture and history.


FEMALES Walk for Crohn's and Colitis Disease

Written by Tim Talley


FEMALES Walk to end colitis.JPGWillimantic, Conn. -   F.E.M.A.L.E.S. (Females Excelling Maturing to Achieve Leadership, Excellence and Success), a student club at Eastern Connecticut State University that promotes leadership and unity among women on campus, is sponsoring its Second Annual "Take Steps." The event is a fundraising walk to support people suffering from Crohn's Disease and Colitis, and takes place from noon to 4 p.m. on Sept. 26 at the Mansfield Athletic Complex. 

Sponsorships include $30 for a student club or sports team, $5 for an individual or $3 for an Eastern student.  For more information or to register, e-mail

            "Our goal is to educate others about Crohn's and colitis and spread public awareness about what they entail," said Shawnese Cook, a senior from Windsor and co-president of F.E.M.A.L.E.S. "We, also hope to raise money to help find a cure. This event began last year in support of F.E.M.A.L.E.S. member, Amy Goldberg, who was the group's secretary at the time.  We soon found many others are affected by these diseases throughout Eastern's campus-faculty, students and staff."

            Collectively, Crohn's and colitis are the two main categories that belong to a larger group of illnesses called inflammatory bowel disease. The symptoms of these two illnesses are so similar that it is sometimes difficult to definitively establish the diagnosis. According to the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA), approximately 10 percent of colitis cases are unable to be pinpointed as either ulcerative (chronic) colitis or Crohn's disease, and are called indeterminate colitis.

Named after American gastroenterologist Burrill Bernard Crohn, the physician who described the disease in 1932, Crohn's disease is a chronic inflammatory disease of the intestines that most commonly affects the small and large intestines, but can affect the entire digestive system. The colon is mainly affected in colitis.

According to the CCFA, more than a million Americans have these illnesses. Both genders are affected equally. Crohn's disease may occur in people of all ages, but is primarily a disease of adolescents and young adults, affecting mainly those between 15 and 35.  There is no cure for Crohn's disease; however, medical treatment, which strives to suppress the inflammatory response, and a healthy diet/nutrition, are essential in fighting this condition.


Student Named HGTVs Community Crusader

Written by Kate Harner

avery_hgtv.JPGWillimantic, CT -- Avery Doninger, a sophomore at Eastern Connecticut State University, has been named HGTV's (Home & Garden Television) Community Crusader for September.

Doninger, a 19 year old from Burlington, CT, designed her own major in international development and social justice with a minor in peace and human rights. Her career goal is to work with a nonprofit in international disaster relief.

Before attending college, Doninger spent 10 months serving in AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC), a program focusing on local and national community service through direct leadership. Before starting their service programs, members are trained in first aid, CPR and other emergency skills.

"Volunteering and helping people is something I have always loved to do," says Doninger. "I think we all have a responsibility to contribute to our community. I don't want to leave Willimantic without making a positive impact."

Visitors of the television network's website ( choose the HGTV Community Crusaders by sharing stories about local volunteers who dedicate themselves to improving their communities. The program is part of the "HGTV Change the World. Start at Home" campaign, an initiative started in 2008 that renovates homes and public spaces in America. Each crusader receives a cash award and is featured in a campaign video that airs on television and online. In addition, HGTV makes a cash contribution for every crusader to its campaign partner, Rebuilding Together, which is the largest nonprofit organization in the United States revitalizing and preserving homes and neighborhoods.

Doninger started volunteering at the Windham No Freeze Shelter last year before becoming a staff member at the shelter. She holds an on-campus job in the Center for Community Engagement, an office that provides students with service-learning programs and opportunities to apply academic knowledge to real-world circumstances. Doninger is a weekly volunteer at the Covenant Soup Kitchen and is a member of the Windham Harm Reduction Coalition, Eastern's Habitat for Humanity, the Peace and Human Rights Club and People Helping People. This past summer, Doninger spent six weeks in Leogane, Haiti, providing disaster relief through All Hands Volunteers, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing volunteers to disaster areas to  assist survivors.


Arroyo Named Connecticut State University Professor

Written by Dwight Bachman

Arroyo Nunez Free.JPG

Visual Arts Professor Imna Arroyo, center, is congratulated by Eastern   President Elsa M. Núñez, right, and Rhona Free, Eastern's vice president for academic affairs, on her honor as CSU Professor.

Willimantic, Conn.- Imna Arroyo, widely respected printmaker, painter, sculptor, installation artist and professor of visual arts at Eastern Connecticut State University, has been named a Connecticut State University (CSU) Professor by the CSU Board of Trustees.

To be recognized as a Connecticut State University Professor, a faculty member must first be nominated by a faculty advisory committee, receive the recommendation of the University president and CSU chancellor, and be approved by the CSU Board of Trustees.

"Professor Arroyo is a tireless advocate for the arts community," said Eastern President Elsa M. Núñez. "She has exhibited her work in Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Czech Republic, the Republic of Panama, China and throughout the United States. She has lectured and conducted workshops in Cuba, Ghana, Canada and China. She has lent her support and talents to a range of arts organizations from Colectivo Mestizal and the Windham Area Arts Collaborative in Willimantic to the National Women's Caucus for Art as the NGO representative for the United Nations. Based on her exemplary teaching, her artistic accomplishments, and her extensive service to the arts, to Eastern and to her department, Professor Arroyo clearly embodies the professional excellence that the title CSU Professor represents."

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Arroyo's popular "Ancestral Passage" installation during an exhibition at the Lyman Allyn Museum in New London.

Arroyo joined Eastern's faculty in 1992. Her art work can be found in the collections of the Yale Art Gallery; the Schomberg Collection of American Art; the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait; the Vertical Files of the Smithsonian Archives of American Art; the Museum of Modern Art Library; and the Franklin Furnace Art Book Collection.

Arroyo's nomination letters of support, which came from the director of the University of Puerto Rico Museum in Cayey; the director of the Museo Casa de Africa in Havana; and artists ranging from Evergreen State College in Oregon to the Rhode Island School of Design, focused on Arroyo's use of her art to foster community, healing and cultural awareness, much of it grounded in the traditions of her native Puerto Rico.

"Professor Arroyo has developed a reputation as an outstanding teacher and mentor at Eastern," wrote Professor Emeritus Barbara Mollette in her letter of nomination for Arroyo. "Through the process of teaching art, Professor Arroyo manages to get students to unpack their mental baggage of myths, lies and biases about people of color and encourages them to read, think and create from a perspective informed by a larger universe."

Arroyo earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts at Pratt Institute and her Master of Fine Arts from Yale University. Prior to being hired in 1992 to chair the Visual Arts Department at Eastern, she taught in the New Haven public school system, and later, at South Central Community College in New Haven.



Martorell Brings the 'Isle of Enchantment' to Eastern

Written by Tim Talley

Antonio Martorell.JPGWillimantic, Conn. -   Renowned Puerto Rican artist and personality Antonio Martorell will present a lecture at Eastern Connecticut State University at 7 p.m. on Sept. 13 in the Science Building Amphitheatre. The lecture is part of Eastern's Artist Talk series. The public is invited. Admissions is free.

            Martorell will show images that play a significant role in Puerto Rican identity both on the island and in the Diaspora.  "The images will capture a diversity of techniques, concepts and formats striving to ask, answer and manifest our quest for dialog between the particular and the universal, the here and there," said Martorell.

            Martorell has Latin American Fellowships at Harvard University, Cambridge and several other institutions. He won the award for Best Installation granted by the Puerto Rican Association of Art Critics in 1991. Some of his recent exhibitions include Tables for Behind the Sofa (1999) and Carbon Copy (2000).

            Martorell regularly exhibits in Puerto Rico; throughout the Caribbean; and in the United States. He also participates in arts events around the globe, and his works have been displayed at the Institute of Culture, the Museum of the University of Puerto Rico, Ponce Art Museum, the Museum of Art of Puerto Rico and the National Gallery of San Salvador, among others. Some of his public art works can be found at the Performing Arts Center of Caguas, the Museum of Art of Puerto Rico and Casa las America in Habana, Cuba, among others.


Eastern to Present Reading at Mark Twain House

Written by Kate Harner

Willimantic, CT -- Eastern Connecticut State University's Performing Arts Department will present a staged reading of "The Gilded Age" at 7 p.m. on Sept. 16 at the Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford. The public is invited. Admission is free.

Eastern's Director of Theatre Ellen Brodie directs the play, based on the 1873 novel, "The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today," by Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner. In collaboration with David Pellegrini, chair of Eastern's Performing Arts Department, Brodie and Eastern theatre students make their audience aware of the relevance of the play's 19th century themes. As a social satire, the work examines the greed in Washington, D.C., and the characters' desires to get rich quickly. A poor Tennessee family tries to sell its land while upper-class members Philip Sterling and Henry Brierly try to make their fortune through land speculation. The play reveals the greed and corruption stretching from the western land to the American government.

The Mark Twain House and Museum is located at 351 Farmington Avenue. For more information, contact Lana Raymond at (860) 465-5325 or


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