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December 2011 Archives

TV Series on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Written by Chris Herman


mlk 1968.jpgWillimantic, CT -- Had he lived, the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would have been 83 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 M. Núñez, was researched, written and produced by Dwight Bachman, public relations officer at Eastern. The series will air all day on Jan. 16, 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. 17. A link to the streaming video can be found at:


MLK TV Interview.jpgThe 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 cites Christian clergymen who said he was a Communist troublemaker who belonged in jail.


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcom X.JPG "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 achieving fairness for everyone and ending segregation, injustice, racism and discrimination. Dr. King did not die for non-violence; that was simply his tactic. The night he died in Memphis, Tennessee, he was fighting for fair pay and economic justice for sanitation workers in that city who, as he said, 'cannot eat three square meals a day.' We all 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.

Nominations for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Award

Written by Kate Harner

0503-martin-luther-king-quotes_full_600.jpgWillimantic, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University is accepting nominations for the 2012 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Service Award. Nominees may be members of the University community or from the greater Windham community. Nominations will be accepted through Dec. 19.

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

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

The award will be presented at a ceremony at 6 p.m. on Feb. 29 in the Paul E. Johnson Sr. Community Conference Room of the J. Eugene Smith Library.

To request a nomination form, contact Indira Petoskey, coordinator of the Intercultural Center, at (860) 465-5749, or

Eastern Appoints New Director of Athletics

Written by Ed Osborn

konin.jpgWillimantic, Conn. -- Eastern Connecticut State University President Elsa Núñez has announced the appointment of Jeff G. Konin '88 as director of Eastern's Department of Athletics, effective July 2, 2012.
Konin, a native of Hamden, CT, is a nationally recognized expert in the field of sports medicine and athletic training, and has significant teaching and administrative experience in collegiate athletics.  In his current positions at the University of South Florida in Tampa, FL, as vice chair of the Department of Ortho and Sports Medicine and executive director of the Sports Medicine and Athletic Related Trauma Institute, Konin has significant financial, staffing and operational management duties. During his time at South Florida, Konin was instrumental in securing a major philanthropic gift exceeding $1 million and was recently named the Kennedy Family Endowed Chair of Athletic Training as part of the gift. 
"In addition to his academic leadership at the University of South Florida and his experience in athletic administration, Mr. Konin is an internationally recognized scholar in the field of sports medicine," said Eastern President Elsa Núnez.  "We are very pleased to hire someone of Jeff's talent and experience for this important position at Eastern. The fact he is an alumnus of our University makes his return to Connecticut even more special."

Before his appointment at the University of South Florida, Konin served as an assistant athletic director at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA.  His academic appointments include faculty positions at Delaware Technical and Community College, James Madison University and the University of South Florida.

Konin has authored and edited academic texts and numerous journal articles and is a frequent national and international lecturer on athletic and sports-related topics.  He also served on the 1996 medical staff for the Olympic Games in Atlanta, GA, and currently serves as the medical coordinator for Team USA Wheelchair Rugby.

After earning his Bachelor of Science degree at Eastern in 1988, Konin received his master's degree in education from the University of Virginia in 1989, a master's degree in physical therapy in 1994 from the University of Delaware, and his doctorate from Nova Southeastern University in 2004.

Eastern to Help Celebrate Three Kings Day

Written by Dwight Bachman

kings day camel best wide shot.JPGWillimantic, Conn: --Donald Williams, President Pro Tempor of the Connecticut State Senate; Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill; State Rep. Susan Johnson (D-Windham) and Windham Mayor Ernest Eldridge will be on hand when Eastern Connecticut State University hosts Windham's Colectivo Mestizal's celebration of Three Kings Day  from 1 -- 4 p.m. on Jan. 6 in the University's Sport Center.

kings day nunez greets 2.JPGColectivo Mestizal, in collaboration with the Town of Windham and the town's Department of Recreation and Department of Human Services, is again collecting toys for children ages 1-8 years old. The drop off point for toys is the Windham Department of Human Services in the Town Hall, located at 979 Main Street in Willimantic. The toys will be distributed at the Three Kings Day celebration.  Families interested in participating in the Three Kings Day celebration need to register their children at toy recipients at the department by Dec. 16.


kings day petting camel.JPGThe Three Kings Day toy giveaway project is in its ninth  year with Colectivo Mestizal. The Puerto Rican Organization Program started the toy  project in Windham. Toy collection has decreased during this year's campaign. According to Mary DeMarco, director of Windham's Department of Human Services, only 150 toys had been collected as of Dec.15. "The depressed economy is affecting collection efforts," said  event organizer Alicia Rivera. "We need another 500 toys for all the children who will show up at Eastern on Jan. 6."


kings day kids parade best.JPG The Feast of the Three Kings, also known as the Epiphany, takes place every year on Jan. 6. This day is very important in Latin American folklore, especially for children, as on this eve, children receive their gifts. On the feast of the Epiphany, the Three Kings visited the newly-born Christ child in Bethlehem, bearing him gifts. This tradition is repeated and reflected in present day with the belief that on this eve, the Three Kings will visit every good child to deliver them gifts.

Thumbnail image for kings day mustache.JPG 

Colectivo Mestizal is an art organization that organizes art exhibits and, in collaboration with the Curbstone Foundation, organizes the Willimantic Poetry in the Park Series. Last year, the organization attained 501c3 status with the IRS and all donations are tax deductible.

For more information on registration,  the toy drive and the event, contact Mary De Marco at (860) 465-3066. For information on how you can help or donate toys, contact Alicia Rivera at (860) 423-3215 or Juan Perez (860) 803-7543. Persons interested in making a financial donation that will purchase a toy for a child cansend check donations to Collectivo Mestizal,  P.O. Box 759, Willimantic, CT 06226.

Jaime Gómez Presented International Honor

Written by Dwight Bachman

gomez Honored.jpg


Ricardo Torres, left,  executive director of ODAEE, Ubaldo Enrique Meza, right, president of the National Congress for a Quality Education Foundation of Colombia, congratulate Gómez, center, after conferring an Honorary Degree.


Willimantic, Conn. -- The Organization of the Americas for Educational Excellence (ODAEE), through two universities -- the College of Graduate Studies of Mexico City and the Catholic University of Cuenca in Ecuador  --  have conferred a Doctor Honoris Causa/Honorary Degree upon Jaime Gómez, interim dean of the School of Education and Professional Studies and the Graduate Division at Eastern Connecticut State University. The ceremony took place on Oct. 26 in Cartagena, Colombia during the Fourth Annual Meeting of the National Congress for Quality Education and the Organization of Ibero American States for Education, Science and Culture-OEI. The meeting was convened by ODAEE.

        Gómez was presented the honorary degree "in recognition of his great contribution in the development of the sciences, arts and letters." Gómez is widely respected internationally for his work in media production; linking information and communication technology to a liberal arts and science education; Latino history and culture; and the ecology of South America.
        The theme of the Cartagena meeting, attended by delegates from more than 23 countries, was "Teacher Professional Development as a Determining Factor for Ensuring Quality Education." Gómez was asked to deliver a presentation on the topic, "Training teachers to use information communication technology (ICT) in education." 

        Gómez was also presented with a Special Recognition Diploma for his "outstanding research and education in the areas of information communication technology (ICT) in the field of education." He also participated on a panel on the same subject with other Latin American scholars.

        "I was very honored, truly moved, and deeply humbled to receive this honorary degree. It reinforces my lifetime commitment to use media and technology to enhance educational environments," said Gómez. "It also reinforces my belief that a quality education for all should be an inherent right and not a privilege because education is the foundation on which we can build a more equitable, sustainable and progressive society. My teaching, research and administrative experience at Eastern Connecticut State University has helped me tremendously to build on that foundation. I am most appreciative of my colleagues and administrators across Eastern who have always supported my academic research and interests."

      The mayor of Cartagena  provided a special sponsorship for the meeting, celebrating the bicentennial celebration of Cartagena's declaration of independence from Spain in November 1811.

Eastern to Host College Goal Sunday

Written by Chris Herman

patrick Kelly.jpg

         Financial Aid Director Patrick Kelly helps student understand FAFSA from last year.

On Jan. 29, 2012, from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m., students and their parents can receive one-on-one expert advice in learning about financial aid and planning for college during College Goal Sunday at Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic. The event takes place in Room 410 of Webb Hall.

mariasi and RI family.jpg

David Mariasi, assistant to financial aid director, helps family from Rhode Island with web-based application from last year during College Goal Sunday.

Eastern is one of 12 locations around the state participating in the annual event. Students and their families will be able to talk with financial aid counselors and college staff in person to   become familiar with college entrance requirements; learn about planning for college; and obtain on-site assistance in filling out financial aid applications. In addition, valuable information will be shared about the benefits of attending college, student support services, areas of study and degree programs. Spanish interpreters will be available.

Kenny Briggs and Wiley Dawson.jpg

Kenneth Briggs,left, assistant to the director of financial aid, instructs student Wiley Dawson on how to help students apply for grants and scholarships last year. 

For students who are the first ones to attend college, the process of applying for college can seem complicated, especially finding financial resources and applying for financial aid. Participating in College Goal Sunday gives students and their families a jump start on the pathway to college by learning about preparing for college and financial aid in a welcoming setting.  Participants can get assistance in completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online. Most grants and scholarships require a completed FAFSA form, which does not obligate applicants to attend college, but is required for most sources of financial aid.


Financial Aid Staff.jpg

Members of Eastern's Financial Aid Office staff, left to right, are Kathy Wrana, Yolanda Sazo, Greg Ashford, Patrick Kelly, Dave Mariasi, Neville Brown and Ken Briggs

College Goal Sunday is funded and sponsored by Lumina Foundation for Education, the Connecticut Association of Professional Financial Aid Administrators (CAPFAA), the Connecticut Association of Educational Opportunity Programs (CAEOP), and the YMCAs of Connecticut.

For more information about the event, contact Neville Brown at or (860) 465-4428.  For a list of all participating institutions and to find out what to bring to the event, visit

Gospel Choir to Perform Winter Gospel Concert

Written by Kate Harner

GospelChoirposterdb crop.jpgWillimantic, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University's Gospel Choir, United Voices of Praise, will perform a winter concert at 5 p.m. on Dec. 10 in Shafer Auditorium. The public is invited. Tickets are $10 for Eastern students and senior citizens, and $12 for the general public.

The United Voices of Praise is directed by Paul Cameron, part-time professor of music. The theme of the performance is joy. The choir will sing "Emmanuel," "The Struggle Is Over," "Giants," "It's My Time," "Spirit," "Trust Me" and "Sow in Tears." Connecticut's Gospel Comedian Michele Marie, as well as gospel groups "Un Toque de Gloria," "N.U. Life" and "Soul Tempo" from the film "The Preacher's Wife," will also perform. Posters, DVDs and CDs will be on sale after the event. Refreshments will be served.

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

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