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August 2011 Archives

Rushdie Kicks Off Annual Arts and Lecture Series

Written by Arielle Cotoia

Rushdie-please-credit-Beowulf Sheehan-PENAmericanCenter.jpgWillimantic, Conn. - Award-winning author Salman Rushdie will open Eastern Connecticut State University's 11th Annual Arts and Lecture Series on Tuesday, Oct. 4 in the Geissler Gymnasium.  Like all Arts and Lecture events, Rushdie's lecture begins at 7 p.m.

            Rushdie is the author of 10 fictional novels inspired by his homeland of India, including "The Satanic Verses"; "Grimus"; and "Midnight's Children," winner of the Booker Prize for Fiction, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, Arts Council Writers' Award and the English-Speaking Union Award. His third published novel, "Shame" won the Prixu du Meilleur Livre Étranger.

            Rushdie's most recent works include the children's book, "Haroun and the Sea," which won a Writers' Guild Award and was later adapted for the stage; "The Moor's Last Sigh"; "The Ground Beneath Her Feet"; "Fury"; "Shalimar the Clown," which was a finalist for the Whitbread Book Awards;  and "The Enchantress of Florence."

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The Arts and Lecture series continues on Nov. 14 with a lecture by television and film actor Dan Lauria, best known for his portrayal of Jack Arnold on the American television series, "The Wonder Years," which ran from 1988 to 1993.  Lauria's lecture is also in the Betty R. Tipton Room.

Lauria has appeared on such television series as "How I Met Your Mother"; "Army Wives"; "The Mentalist"; "Law and Order: Criminal Intent"; "Smallville"; "JAG"; "Criminal Minds"; "Costello"; "Party of Five"; and "Amazing Grace."  He has been in numerous TV movies and had a role in the 1996 movie "Independence Day."

Lauria also has written, directed and produced for the stage. He appeared in the off-Broadway production of "A Stone Carver" in 2006; played Jimmy Hoffa in Brian Lee Franklin's "Good Bobby," a fictionalized account of Robert Kennedy's rise; and in 2010, starred as Vince Lombardi in the Broadway play "Lombardi."

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On Feb. 15, 2012, the U.S. Coast Guard Dixieland Jazz Band brings its special brand of classic jazz, blues and New Orleans ragtime to Eastern's Shafer Auditorium. The band was organized in 1970 and has entertained audiences across America, as well as in the former Soviet Union, Japan, Taiwan and England. Notable venues include the open-air theater in Disney World; the Boardwalk in Atlantic City; the Galaxy Jazz Festival in Milwaukee; the Embarcadero in San Francisco and Mardi Gras in New Orleans. The group has also performed on numerous radio and television broadcasts across the nation.

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Veteran journalist Laura Ling wraps up the 2011-12 Arts and Lecture Series on March 13 with a lecture in the Betty R. Tipton Room.  Ling is the host and reporter on "E! Investigates," a documentary series on the E! Network that explores such topics as teen suicide and the challenges faced by military spouses.

Prior to joining the E! Network, Ling served as vice president of Current TV's journalism department and created Current's weekly investigative documentary series "Vanguard."  She also worked as a correspondent reporting on crucial issues around the world, including slave labor in the Amazon; Mexico's drug war; Internet censorship in China; and women's rights in Turkey.

In March 2009, while reporting on the trafficking of North Korean women, Ling was detained by North Korean soldiers along the Chinese-North Korean border. She and her colleague Euna Lee were arrested and held captive in North Korea for 140 days before being granted a special pardon and returning to the United States. 

In prior years, Eastern's Arts and Lecture Series has brought such world-class speakers and artists to campus as Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough; noted author John Updike; Boston Celtic legend Bill Russell; "Bill Nye the Science Guy"; renowned actor James Earl Jones; ocean explorer Robert Ballard; feminist Gloria Steinem; Princeton University scholar Cornell West; the Grammy-nominated Eroica Trio; film director Spike Lee; and the Spanish Harlem Orchestra.

Tickets for Arts and Lectures Series events are $10 for the general public and can be reserved by calling (860) 465-0036 or e-mailing For more information on the 2011-12 series, visit


Eastern Remembers 9/11 with Week of Activities

Written by Ed Osborn

In observance of the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, which left more than 3,000 people dead, Eastern Connecticut State University will hold a number of events during the week of Sept. 5, 2011.

"Each year at Eastern, we mark the passing of Sept. 11 with a moment of silence and personal reflection," explained Eastern President Elsa Núñez.  "We felt this year's 10th anniversary of 9/11 was an opportunity to come together as a community and spend time remembering those who perished that day.  As Americans, we should never forget what happened 10 years ago.  We owe it to the innocent people who died that day and their families to honor their memory."

To honor those who lost their lives and to support the causes of world peace and global understanding, students working in the Center for Community Engagement spent the summer making 1,000 paper peace doves that will be displayed in the Student Center throughout the weeks of Aug. 29 and Sept. 5.  Students, faculty and staff will write their names on the doves and then display them prominently in the center.

On Sept. 7, Professor Charles Wynn will describe how the events of Sept. 11 inspired him to write the book, "And God said, 'Let there be evolution!'; Reconciling the Book of Genesis, the Qur'an and the Theory of Evolution."  The book explains how Darwin's Theory of Evolution can be reconciled with Christianity, Judaism and Islam.  Wynn's lecture is the first event in this year's University Hour series, and will begin at 3 p.m. in the Student Center Theatre.

At 11 a.m. on Sept. 9, a memorial service to honor those who perished on Sept. 11, 2001, will be held in front of Gelsi-Young Hall.  A permanent tree "9/11 Tribute Tree" has been planted at that site to honor those who died. 

On Sept. 10, Eastern students can sign up for a trip to the Connecticut Historical Society's 9/11 Exhibit in Hartford.  The event is open to the first 20 students; to register, send an e-mail to

At 9 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 11, Eastern students will hold a candlelight vigil at the Foster Clock Tower.  If it rains, the vigil will take place in the Paul E. Johnson Sr. Community Room in the J. Eugene Smith Library.

            Throughout the week of Sept. 5, Eastern's Center for Community Engagement will be working in four local elementary afterschool programs to help children understand the events of 9/11.  A giant banner, with handprints of schoolchildren and Eastern students, will be on display at the University's Student Center and hung in the Windham Town Hall the following week.


Eastern's Drama Society to Present Woodstock Academy Plays

Written by Kate Harner

Willimantic, CT -- Eastern Connecticut State University's Drama Society will present two plays written by Woodstock Academy High School senior Jeremy Geragotelis at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 2 and 3 in the Betty R. Tipton Room. "Hemingway's Café" is directed by Katharine McManus and Stephanie LaPointe, and "Black Heroides" is directed by Seana Hendrickson. McManus, LaPointe and Hendrickson are Eastern students.

Admission is $3 for Eastern students with their IDs; $5 for general public. The plays are a fundraiser for Eastern's Drama Society, so any donations after the admission fee are greatly appreciated.

"Hemingway's Café"  centers on the idea that people fight for attention and only want others to listen. The main character meets alternate versions of himself and his friend in a room, where he  wants people to listen to him instead of him listening to others. The actors are Paul Lietz, Laura Cuffe, Corey Welden, Kyle Dennis, Shannon Erwin, Liz Swan and Kate Harner, all Eastern students.

"Black Heroides," features many heroines from classic literature including Lady Macbeth, Cinderella and Mattie from "Ethan Frome," who go through relationship therapy, discuss their past, and find reasons why their stories are relived each year through dusty school books. The actors in this dark comedy include Kelsey Guggenheim, Laura Cuffe, Shannon Erwin and Liz Swan. "Black Heroides" contains some adult themes and language and is intended for mature audiences.

"It's really exciting to see Drama Society members come together and work hard over the summer to put on these shows," said Drama Society President Liz Swan. "The performances and direction are great opportunities for us to exercise our passion outside of the classroom."



Eastern's Police to Help Special Olympics Athletes

Written by Arielle Cotoia

Willimantic, Conn. - On Aug. 28, Eastern Connecticut State University's Police Department will join motorcycle riders from eight states and 29 satellite start locations throughout New England to participate in the 11th Annual Dream Ride Day to celebrate the achievements of Special Olympics Connecticut. The celebration will run from 1-5 p.m. at The Farmington Club in Farmington, and the public is invited. Admissions, entertainment and food are free of charge.

            Governor Dannel P. Malloy has officially proclaimed Aug. 28 as Dream Ride Day in Connecticut. "Dream Ride brings together a group of diverse people for a worthy cause that continues to grow," said Eastern Lt. Madera. "It's a great event for people to recognize Special Olympics Connecticut and enjoy the top-notch entertainment and food with family, friends, colleagues and fellow riders."

In partnership with Bozzuto's Inc. and The Hometown Foundation, Inc., the event is designed to help raise awareness for Special Olympics Connecticut; raise money for Special Olympics Connecticut athletes; and create a fund to establish an athletic training facility for Special Olympics athletes. The event was created to commemorate the achievements of individuals living with intellectual disabilities and highlight Special Olympics athletes' accomplishments and determination in displaying their athletic skills and willingness to succeed.  

In addition to the motorcyclists, participants, Special Olympics Connecticut athletes, volunteers, law enforcement personnel, numerous food vendors, sponsors and other supporters who will be in attendance, platinum recording artist Sister Hazel, The Alternative Routes, Brian Jarvis, Brooks Wood, On Call and Seth Adam will be on hand to perform.

            Dream Ride Day also features a classic car show. Automotive enthusiasts are encouraged to showcase their cars and trucks and show up at the event with a Special Olympics Connecticut athlete.

Motorcyclists should visit to see a list of satellite start locations and times for each participating state. Persons interested in attending the event may also visit the website for more information.


Continuing Education Book Scholarships to Help Adult Students

By Arielle Cotoia

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In Eastern's Bookstore, an adult student prepares for the semester by getting required textbooks.

Willimantic, Conn. - The School of Continuing Education at Eastern Connecticut State University has received a $3,000 grant from Guilford Smith Trust, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee, to establish a book scholarship to help support part-time adult students working toward earning their degrees.

The book scholarship program is designed to assist students in paying for their books, which now average $125-200 per course. This program allows any student awarded a School of Continuing Education Scholarship to also receive a $200 Continuing Education Book Scholarship. The School of Continuing Education anticipates awarding 15 book scholarships in the upcoming school year.

            The cost of attending college as a part-time student has increased significantly at Eastern and across the country. At the same time, many employers have dropped their policies allowing for tuition reimbursement.

To address the problem, Eastern offers a small scholarship for part-time adult students, allocated from parking fines and vending machine revenues. However, these scholarships do not cover the full cost of tuition or textbooks. Through the generosity of the Guilford Smith Trust, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee, 15 part-time Eastern students will now have their textbooks covered. The School of Continuing Education offers high-quality education programs at times and places convenient for working adults in Eastern Connecticut, enabling them to complete a baccalaureate degree quickly, capitalizing upon their prior experiences and learning. It also offers a flexible degree program called the Bachelor of General Studies (BGS). Persons who think they may qualify for a scholarship should call (860) 465-0206 and ask to an advisor.


"Double Time" Faculty Exhibition at Akus Gallery

Written by Dwight Bachman


                        Portrait of Abigail by Terry Lennox

Willimantic, Conn. -The Julian Akus Gallery at Eastern Connecticut State University will present the exhibition, "Double Time: Visual Arts Faculty Exhibition 2011," from Sept. 1 through Oct. 13. The public is invited. Admission is free. A reception with the artists takes place on Sept. 8 from 4-7 p.mBLOCTON.PatternRhythms copy.jpg                    Patterns and Rhythms by Lula Blocton

The exhibition features the work of 32 full-and part-time Visual Arts Department faculty members/artists who employ a variety of media from the traditional to the innovative.  "These artist/faculty members not only create vibrant accessible images, they are equally committed to sharing their methodologies and insights," said Gail Gelburd, professor of art history and chair of the Visual Arts Department.  "They have been able to accomplish this by doing 'double-time' - working as professional artists, as well as mentors to their students. They guide the students to find their own path, their own visual voice. They inspire and nurture innovation and creativity - attributes that can influence the very core of any student."


                         "Politics as Usual" by June Bisantz

The Akus Gallery is located in the lower level of Shafer Hall at

the corner of Windham and Valley Streets in Willimantic.

Parking is available on both cross streets. The gallery is fully accessible. 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. The gallery is closed Mondays and Fridays. For more information regarding this and other exhibitions at Akus Gallery, please call (860) 465-4659 or visit:


Eastern "Art Rocks" at Quinebaug

Written by Dwight Bachman

Thumbnail image for Art Rocks-.jpg          Drew Hyatt, left, and Andy Jones produce Eastern "Art Rocks" for Quinebaug Exhibition

Danielson, CT. -The Spirol Gallery at Quinebaug Valley Community College will present the exhibition, "Art Rocks," from Aug. 29. through Oct. 6. The public is invited. Admission is free. A reception with the artists takes place on Sept. 8 from 6-8 p.m.

This exhibition features the work of two Eastern Connecticut State University professors -- Andy Jones, professor of visual arts and Drew Hyatt, professor of environmental earth science  --whose on-going collaboration examines the geological origins and artistic aesthetic of a dramatic landscape commonly referred to as Georgia's "Little Grand Canyon." Working with students and colleagues at Eastern, Jones and Hyatt examine the intersection of art and science through plein aire and studio paintings, immersive imagery, geological core samples, ground penetrating radar and three-dimensional laser scanning.

"The Art Rocks project began with a cluster of first-year program classes that Andy and I team-taught, but then evolved into a collaboration examining landscapes from multiple perspectives," said Hyatt. "It was great fun to have this project used this past summer in the Connecticut Science Center, and we are now working on local landscapes such as Diana's Pool in south Chaplin. This is the first time I've ever been in an art exhibit so I am quite excited to be part of  it, especially given all the new art work that Andy has prepared for the show."


"My artwork has been enriched due to our art and science collaboration," said Jones.  "I have enjoyed everything we have worked on together and the QVCC exhibition is a great way to showcase our projects in a gallery setting."

The gallery is located at 742 Upper Street in Danielson. Parking is available on both cross streets. Gallery hours are 9 a. m. - 9 p. m. Monday - Friday.  For more information regarding this and other exhibitions at the Spirol Gallery, please call (860) 412-7265 or visit:


Eastern Named "A Great College to Work For" for Third Year

Written by Dwight Bachman

Great College to Work For.jpgWillimantic, Conn. -   For the third year in a row, Eastern Connecticut State University has made the list of "Great Colleges to Work For" released by The Chronicle of Higher Education (CHE). ModernThink LLC, an independent research company, surveyed 310 colleges and universities and more than 44,000 employees at those institutions to develop its findings. Only 111 colleges were awarded the prestigious honor. The program is the second largest workplace recognition program in the country, after Fortune Magazine's "100 Best Companies to Work For" program. 

            Between 400 and 600 employees were surveyed at each college or university and each institution was also asked to fill out an organizational questionnaire. In addition to being recognized as a "Great College to Work For," Eastern won honors in four subcategories this year: "Collaborative Governance"; "Compensation and Benefits"; Facilities, Workspaces and Security"; and "Confidence in Senior Leadership."

                        "We are honored to be included in 'Great Colleges to Work For' three years in a row," said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. "Receiving this national recognition from The Chronicle of Higher Education is very gratifying especially, being recognized in so many critical areas of  campus interaction. The spirit of collaboration that exists on our campus gives us a heightened capacity to better serve our students and the State of Connecticut."


            "Even in a down economy when many colleges  are freezing salaries or having layoffs, employees still find good in their work," said CHE editor Jeffrey Selingo. "Great workplaces are about more than dollars and cents. Great Colleges to Work For don't always pay the best, but they have created environments where people feel appreciated and valued."

            Richard Boyer, principal and managing partner of ModernThink, LLC, agreed: "It's easy to be a great workplace during good times, but it's when times are tough, the commitment to workplace quality really gets tested. And those institutions that measure up during times of economic hardship reinforce their already strong cultures and put even more distance between them and their peer institutions for whom they compete for talent."

For complete survey results, visit 


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