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February 2012 Archives

Students to Perform "Thieves' Carnival"

Written by Kate Harner

Willimantic, Conn. - Students from Eastern Connecticut State University's Theatre Program will perform "Thieves' Carnival" from March 8-11 and March 13-14 at the Harry Hope Theatre, located in Shafer Hall at the corner of High and Valley Streets. The show opens at 7:30 p.m. on March 8-10 and March 13-14. The show opens at 4 p.m. on March 11. 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.

"Thieves' Carnival," written by French playwright Jean Anouilh in 1932 and translated by Lucienne Hill, is directed by J.J. Cobb, assistant professor of theatre. The play focuses on a thief and his two apprentices, who are in disguise and invited to stay at a wealthy family's estate. The thieves try to rob the family through deception and wit.

"Love-struck heiresses, pickpockets and world-weary provocateurs take turns playing the fool in this updated classic," said Cobb.

Anouilh categorized "Thieves' Carnival" as a "pièce rose," a pleasant play that uses comedy and emulates the styles of Molière and Marivaux. The performance is also influenced by "commedia dell'arte," which allows for physical clowning.

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

Billie Jean Young to speak at Eastern

Actress and poet Billie Jean Young will present at Eastern's University Hour Series from 3 to 4 p. m. on Feb. 29 in the Student Center Theatre. Young's presentation will include a performance of the one-woman show, "Fannie Lou Hamer: This Little Light."  The public is invited. Admission is free.


Young's captivating, award-winning one-woman show recaptures the breadth and majesty of Hamer's brave journey from a downtrodden field worker to a victorious champion of civil and human rights.


In 2004, to coincide with the Democratic National Convention, Young performed her re-enactment of the speech Hamer presented at the 1964 Democratic National Convention. Young is a resident of Perry County, AL, where she serves as an artist-in-residence at Judson College in Marion.



Bowling for Buck$ at Eastern: Annual Bowlathon

Written by Kate Harner

Willimantic, Conn. - The ECSU Foundation, Inc. will hold its annual Bowlathon in support of Eastern Connecticut State University at 11 a.m. on March 3 at Willi Bowl on Route 6 in North Windham, CT.
The bowlathon has become an annual tradition involving the Eastern community, alumni, local businesses and the general public to raise funds for scholarships. These scholarships are awarded to students who apply for an ECSU Foundation Competitive Scholarship and attended a high school within a 20-mile radius of Eastern's campus.
Students, faculty and staff, alumni and local businesses are encouraged to send teams to participate in the bowlathon. Each team consists of four bowlers who will each bowl three games. Each bowler must raise a minimum of $30 to bowl. Prizes will be given to the winning teams. Gifts will be given to everyone for participating. A pizza lunch is included.

Business-sponsored teams must register as "Striker" level sponsors ($300) or higher.   Pledge sheets, team registration forms and sponsorship forms are located online at: Team registration and sponsor forms should be returned to the ECSU Foundation, located at 83 Windham Street, Willimantic, CT 06226, Gelsi-Young Hall, Institutional Advancement, Room 120.  Pledge forms and pledge money must be turned in by March 2, 2012. 

Eastern to Present John Cage Centennial Concert

Written by Kate Harner

Willimantic, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University's Performing Arts Department will present a concert honoring John Cage, one of the most controversial and creative composers of the 20th Century, at 5 p.m. on Feb. 26 in Shafer Auditorium. The public is invited. Admission is free.

Directed by Anthony Cornicello, professor of music, and Jeff Calissi, associate professor of music, the concert will include pieces for percussion, voice, electronics and keyboard. Featured works by Cage include "Imaginary Landscape No. 1," the earliest piece on the program as it dates from 1939; "One4" performed by Calissi; "Four3" which push boundaries of traditional notation and musical time; excerpts from "Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano" performed by Cornicello with a piano prepared with screws, bolts and pieces of rubber and erasers in between the piano strings; "Suite for Toy Piano" performed by Rebecca Calissi, part-time professor of music; and "The Wonderful Widow of Eighteen Springs," text written by James Joyce to be sung by Lynn Maxfield, assistant professor of music. Members of the Percussion Studio will perform one movement from "Living Room Music," a rhythmic reading of a text by Gertrude Stein.

In between each piece, Edmund Chibeau, associate professor of communication, will read a short story from Cage's "Indeterminacy." Each story must be read in one minute's time, so some stories will be stretched out, while others will be read rapidly.

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

Fall 2012 Applications up at Eastern

Eastern Connecticut State University is seeing a dramatic increase in applications for the fall 2012 semester. Freshman applications for fall 2012 are up 49 percent over fall 2011 figures, while overall applications, including those from transfer students, are up 44 percent. 


"In addition to the hard work of our admissions staff, I believe the increased interest in Eastern is the result of our improving reputation," said Rhona Free, vice president of academic affairs. For instance, Eastern is ranked in the top 30 public regional universities in the North by U.S. News and World Report. The University has also received similar accolades from the Princeton Review and other organizations.  "Parents and students throughout Connecticut and beyond are placing a greater value on the type of liberal arts education we provide at Eastern," continued Free. "The fact our students are also gaining invaluable experience in internships, research projects and other practical applications of their liberal arts education resonates with parents and prospective students alike in today's economy."


Interim Director of Admissions Christopher Dorsey points to a number of other factors that are contributing to the increase.  For one thing, Eastern continues to make use of social media and new technologies to attract prospective students.  In addition to creating a Facebook page for incoming classes even before the students arrive on campus, Eastern has recently created a Facebook page for parents.  This allows parents to ask questions of each other and serve as a mutual support system. 


"We also began using text messaging to notify students when they are accepted," says Dorsey.  "It is great when we get texts back from students saying, 'Wow!,' 'Thank you!' and 'OMG!' 


"We are also continuing to hear favorable comments from students and parents at the college fairs we attend," said Dorsey, indicating that Eastern's beautiful campus, attractive dormitories, small campus and liberal arts focus are all factors cited by students who are considering Eastern.  "I also think people like knowing that we attract students from throughout Connecticut.  We see students from 165 of the 169 towns in the state -- from Greenwich to Woodstock, and from Canaan to Mystic."


Eastern is also using new web-based marketing tools to great success. "Zinch," an Internet service that links students to schools, scholarships and other college-related information, has already generated more than 200 applications for Eastern, far outperforming print-based marketing used in the past. "With smaller high school graduating classes in the foreseeable future, colleges and universities are finding that attracting students will continue to be highly competitive," said Dorsey.


Another big factor in Eastern's increase in applications has been its move to the "Common Application" now utilized by hundreds of colleges and universities.  Officials from the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers have found that the switch to the Common Application results in about a 10 percent increase in applicants, making Eastern's 49 percent increase even more impressive.



President Nunez Joins National Board

official portrait of dr. nunez.jpgAt its recent annual meeting in Washington, D.C., the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) named seven new directors and elected a slate of new officers.  Elsa Núñez, president of Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic, CT, was one of the seven newly appointed directors. 

"I am honored to join the board of directors of the Association of American Colleges and Universities," said Nuñez. "As the leading advocacy group for liberal education in the country, AAC&U has an important role to play in ensuring that our nation fully understands the value and importance of undergraduate, liberal arts education. The work of the association also closely aligns with Eastern's mission as Connecticut's only public liberal arts university. I am delighted to serve in this new capacity as a member of the board."


Núñez became the president of Eastern Connecticut State University in 2006.  Prior to joining Eastern, Núñez had more than 20 years of previous experience as a senior administrator in higher education, serving as Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs in the University of Maine System; as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Lesley University; and as University Dean for Academic Affairs and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at the City University of New York. She has held positions as a tenured faculty member at Ramapo State College, the College of Staten Island of the City University of New York, and Lehman College of the City University of New York. Núñez received her B.A. from Montclair State College, an M.A. from Fairleigh Dickinson University and a doctorate in linguistics from Rutgers University.


Other new members of the board include Charlene Dukes, president of Prince George's Community College; Allison Jones, vice president for postsecondary collaboration, Achieve, Inc.; Darcy Kelley, Harold Weintraub Professor of Biological Sciences at Columbia University; Holiday Hart McKiernan, vice president, strategic operations and chief of staff for the Lumina Foundation for Education; Brian Murphy, president of De Anza College; and Michael S. Roth, president of Wesleyan University.


The seven new appointees join six current directors who were reappointed to two-year terms, including Sean Decatur, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Oberlin College; David Hodge, president at Miami University; Sylvia Manning, president of  the Higher Learning Commission; Lester Monts, senior vice provost for academic affairs at the University of Michigan; Kenneth Ruscio, president of Washington and Lee University; and Sanford Ungar, president of Goucher College.


Bobby Fong, president of Ursinus College, became the chair of the board, taking over from Helen Giles-Gee, president of Keene State College. Giles-Gee will continue to serve on the AAC&U's Board Executive Committee as past chair. In addition to the Fong's appointment, AAC&U appointed Mildred García, president of California State University-Dominguez Hills, as vice chair of the board.

"AAC&U's membership is very fortunate to be led by such a strong and committed board of directors," said AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider. "The board's leadership has contributed greatly to the growth of AAC&U's membership and the strength of its programs and publications. Following President Giles-Gee's effective leadership this past year, I am very confident that, along with his fellow board members, President Fong will continue to bring energy, insight, and visibility to AAC&U's continuing commitment to extending the benefits of liberal education to every college student."

Eastern's Global Field Course to Cuba

Written by Christopher Herman

 Willimantic, Conn. - The Department of Visual Arts at Eastern Connecticut State University is conducting a three-credit global field course titled "ART 316 Art and Travel: Cuba" from May 19 to May 29. The course features a 10-day trip to Cuba.

Professor Gail Gelburd, chair of the Visual Arts Department, has been visiting Cuba for 20 years, and will lead the study tour. She will share her knowledge of Cuban history, art and culture and will also take students throughout Cuba to explore that country's Spanish and French connections. Other highlights include visiting the home of Ernest Hemingway, as well as visiting the homes and studios of some of today's most important contemporary artists.

Cuba has recently reopened for educational tours this year. Eastern students will be there for 10 days during Havana Biennale, one of the largest art festivals in the world, featuring art of Asia, Africa and Latin America. The festival happens once every three years in the streets of Havana.

For more information, contact Gail Gelburd at (860) 465-0195 or



ACE Fellow Stacey Close to Speak at Black and White Ball

Written by Trevor May

close- close up.JPGWillimantic, Conn. - Stacey Close, professor of history at Eastern Connecticut State University, will be the keynote speaker at Eastern's Black and White Ball on Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. in the Betty R. Tipton Room of the Student Center. The Black and White Ball is part of Eastern's monthly cultural celebrations and is designed to commemorate the life of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

"The event is a reflection of the 1960s of where we have come from, where we are today and where we are headed." said Maiyah Gamble-Rivers, who is coordinating the event. The ball is co-sponsored by several Eastern organizations, including the Campus Activity Board (CAB), the Women's Center, the Intercultural Center, the Center for Community Engagement, and the Office of the Housing and Residential Life.

close and nunez.jpg

                 Eastern President Elsa Nunez with History Professor Stacey Close

Close is currently serving as an American Council on Education Fellow (ACE) at Wesleyan University. The ACE Fellows Program is the nation's premier higher education leadership development program in preparing senior leaders to serve American colleges and universities.

Close has been named the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including Eastern's Teaching Excellence Award; Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Service Award; Student Club Advisor of the Year Award; and in 1999, was named one of the Hartford Courant's "12 Hot Professors" Award.


V.E.T.S. Center to Offer Writing Tutoring Services

Written by Kate Harner

vets challenge one mile run.JPGWillimantic, Conn. - Eric Alan, a senior English major from Simsbury, is now providing writing tutoring services at Eastern Connecticut State University's Veterans Educational Transition Services (V.E.T.S.) Center, which is directed by Lawrence Schmitz.
 Alan, a veteran who served in the United States Coast Guard for eight years, volunteered his tutoring services at the V.E.T.S. Center during fall '11 while simultaneously working at Eastern's Writing Center. Alan has constructed his tutoring services based on the Writing Center's model, as well as through his own research for his Composition Theory and Rhetoric class, which culminated in a paper, "Veterans and the Writing Center: Challenging a Burgeoning Population."
 "I am determined to make lives better for veterans," said Alan. "It's difficult adapting to college life, and the V.E.T.S. Center helps make the transition easier. The purpose of my tutoring services is to help veterans become students again. Veterans are used to fitness reports and technical writing. It is very different than academic writing, which usually asks you to express your opinion and think critically."
The Writing Center funds the project in order to reach out to the veteran population at Eastern. Rita Malenczyk, professor of English and director of the Writing Program and Writing Center, and Susan DeRosa, associate professor of English, have assisted Alan with his research and implementation of his services.
 "Both Dr. Malenczyk and Dr. DeRosa have been very supportive," said Alan. "They were integral to making this work."
 The V.E.T.S. Center provides comprehensive support services to prospective and current students who are or were members of the U.S. Armed Services. Over the past three years, Eastern's veteran population has grown from 50 to 250 enrolled students.
More than 20 veterans used Alan's writing tutor skills last fall. This semester, he has already been approached by five.
The services are made possible through a Project Compass grant with the support of Carmen Cid, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. Project Compass supports efforts to increase retention and graduation rates for minority, low-income and first-generation college students.
 Interested veterans can make appointments through the Writing Center's website, Alan's office hours are from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on Tuesday and from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Thursday, as well as by appointment.

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