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Buddhist Monk Speaks at Eastern

Written by Michael Rouleau

 

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Willimantic, Conn. - Ajahn Boumlieng, a Buddhist monk of the Lao Lan Xang Temple in Willington, CT, spoke at the J. Eugene Smith Library at Eastern Connecticut State University on April 8. The event, titled "The Way of the Elders: Buddhism and the Lao Community in Connecticut," discussed Theravada Buddhism and Lao culture.
 Theravada directly translates to "the way of the elders," and is among the oldest and most traditional forms of Buddhism. It follows closely to the teachings of Buddha and focuses on meditation. "Meditation is the most important part of my culture," said Boumlieng. "Meditation can be active or still, but must focus on breath."

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 Boumlieng, a native of Laos, has traveled extensively amidst his spiritual journey, learning various Buddhist philosophies along the way. He became a monk 30 years ago at the age of 25, and spent approximately 10 years meditating in Laotian caves to learn his Buddhist routes --a common practice of monks from that area.
Since then he has lived in China, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and now the United States. He's been in the United States for about 10 years--Connecticut for six. Boumlieng's English is limited, but he speaks Thai, Lao, Vietnamese and French fluently.

Speaking of the goal of meditation, Boumlieng said, "The mind is like water; naturally clear, but able to be colored." The mind is colored by thoughts and emotions, which Boumlieng calls "monkey mind." Clarity is the state of mind hoped to be achieved through meditation.

In his culture, monks are highly revered and are not expected to work; they are totally supported by the community. Through enlightening themselves, the community benefits, as monks provide a service as teachers and counselors. In Laos, monks are not allowed to use technology, but because of the support they receive, there is no need for it. In Connecticut, however, Boumlieng must occasionally resort to cars and the Internet.

Eastern to Present "An Evening with Chuck Klosterman"

Danielle Couture

Klosterman.jpgWillimantic, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University's Arts and Lecture Series will present author Chuck Klosterman at 7 p.m. on April 22 in the Betty R. Tipton Room, where he will discuss how pop culture shapes a person's identity.


Klosterman is the New York Times best-selling author of six books of nonfiction and essays, including "Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs" and "I Wear the Black Hat: Grappling with Villains," and two novels "Downtown Owl" and "The Visible Man," all of which focus on American popular culture. His debut book, "Fargo Rock City," was a winner of the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award. He has written for GQ, Esquire, Spin, the Washington Post, the Guardian, the Believer and the A.V. Club. Klosterman currently covers sports and popular culture for ESPN and writes "The Ethicist" column for the New York Times Magazine.

In his fresh, candid observations and metaphoric illustrations, Klosterman astounds and informs his readers on a variety of topics--love, music, sports and others--within the broad context of American popular culture. In the process, he contemplates how popular culture can define individual and group identity, with the movies we watch, the music we listen to and the television shows we obsess over becoming the subscript of our lives.  Klosterman shows us how pop culture becomes inextricably linked with our memories, how it helps us understand the world, and what this says about us as individuals and as a society.

"An Evening with Cluck Klosterman" will include a question-and-answer session and a book signing following the lecture presentation.Tickets for Arts and Lecture Series events are $10 for the public. Reserve yours by calling (860) 465-0036 or e-mailing tickets@easternct.edu.

Eastern Announces 2014 Commencement Speaker

Written by Ed Osborn

nick_lawson.jpgWillimantic, Conn. -

Eastern Connecticut State University has announced that Nicholas Lawson, director of field human resources for Doctors without Borders/"Médecins sans Frontières" (MSF), will be  receiving an honorary degree from the University at its 124rd Commencement Exercises on May 13, 2014, at the XL Center in Hartford, CT.
 
Lawson began working for MSF in 1997 as a logistical and administrative expert in a project in southern Sudan during that country's brutal civil war. Since then he has held 11 other positions within the organization, which have taken him on humanitarian missions across the globe to Afghanistan, Burundi, East Timor, Pakistan, Kenya and elsewhere.

Last year in Uganda, Lawson coordinated MSF's response to the Kamango/Bundibugyo refugee crisis on the Uganda/Congo border. In 2011, he coordinated a similar mission to provide HIV-related hospital care to the population of the Chiradzulu district in Malawi. Over the years, Lawson has traveled to and coordinated humanitarian and medical relief efforts in a number of other countries in response to natural disasters, refugee situations, the AIDS pandemic and other health emergencies.

During his years with MSF, Lawson has risen through the organizational ranks from logistician to field coordinator, logistical coordinator and finally head of mission. Lawson's extensive field experience prepared him for the headquarter role of Recruitment Officer for Field Human Resources at MSF-Australia in Sydney. Today, he continues to use these skills to lead the New York-based human resources team that recruits and places U.S. medical and non-medical staff in MSF projects.
Prior to joining MSF in January 1997, Lawson worked in the finance, construction, education, and hospitality industries in Australia and other locales. He studied anthropology at the University of Western Australia.

Chief Justice Rogers and Judge Kahn to Speak at Eastern

Written by Michael Rouleau

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Willimantic, Conn. - Two high-level Connecticut court officials will speak at Eastern Connecticut State University on March 26 for Eastern's University Hour series. At 3 p.m. in the Student Center Theatre, Chief Justice Chase T. Rogers and Superior Court Judge Maria Kahn will speak with the Eastern community about justice and the judicial system in today's world. 

Born and raised in Angola, Africa, Kahn was appointed a Superior Court Judge in 2006 and currently is assigned to hear criminal matters in the Fairfield Judicial District Courthouse. She moved to the United States at 10 years of age, is fluent in three languages and serves on a number state and national Bars. 

Rogers, a Connecticut native, was sworn in as Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court in 2007--the second woman ever to reach this designation in Connecticut. She was also appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the State Justice Institute's Board of Directors. In addition to serving on a number of prestigious Bars and committees, Rogers is also an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law.

"The event is open to the public and will be organized in a question-and-answer format," said Starsheemar Byrum, coordinator of the Women's Center. "Arrive early at the Student Center Theatre to ensure a good seat."

"Eastern in 4," Eastern's Revamped Academic Plan

Written by Michael Rouleau


Willimantic, Conn. - As part of Eastern Connecticut State University's 2013-18 Strategic Plan, "Eastern in 4" is now a requirement for current students and incoming freshmen. The goal of "Eastern in 4" is to lay out a tight and comprehensive plan--including academic and career goals--that will lead students to their bachelor's degrees in four years.

"Eastern in 4" has existed as an informal objective for several years now, but recent data supporting the need for college-career planning has caused the University to revamp and mandate the program. "There are so many options and requirements in a college setting," said Alison Garewski, a professional advisor with the Advising Center. "Students unknowingly taking courses they don't need--costing them more money and prolonging their time in college--is an issue nationwide."

With nearly 1,000 freshman at Eastern this year, approximately 650 have completed their academic plans. Though the plans are designed in group sessions of five to 20 students, each four-year plan is individualized according to a student's degree requirements and preferences--taking into consideration which liberal arts courses to take, internships and study abroad opportunities.

"Every semester when registering for classes I use my four-year plan to aid in my selection," said Christina Harmon, a sophomore majoring in psychology. "'Eastern in 4' was a great way for me to learn what classes I need to take and how to stay on track in order to graduate on time."

While "Eastern in 4" is available to all students and majors, it is especially useful to transfer students, continuing education students and those switching majors. "This program is ideal at Eastern because we're a liberal arts school," said Chris Drewry, a professional advisor with the Advising Center. "Students are required and encouraged to take courses outside of their major, so having this direction is really helpful."

"Before making my 'Eastern in 4' plan, I had no idea if I could fit a double major's worth of classes into my schedule," said Thomas Hacker, a freshman with a double major. "Now I have a roadmap to double major in music and communication in four years."

Football Star Maurice Clarett Speaks At Eastern

Written by Jordan Sakal

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Willimantic, Conn. - Arguably one of the greatest freshmen to ever play college football, visited Eastern Connecticut State University on Feb. 26 to speak to students about the rise and fall of his football career, and his life choices about drugs, alcohol and partying. Clarett's constant refrain,"Show me your friends and I'll show you your future," reminded students that friends can lead you to great things, or down the wrong path as was the case for Clarett.

 His story began with memories of his youth and incarceration for stealing vehicles and breaking and entering. After his third incarceration, he was taken under the wing of Roland Smith, a juvenile corrections officer who agreed to mentor Clarett and be the father the teen so desperately needed. From this positive reinforcement, Clarett became a football star, graduated early from high school, and attended college at Ohio State University. There he set rushing records as a freshman in addition to becoming the first freshman to start for the Buckeyes in 48 years. According to Clarett, things began to fall apart at Ohio State. He ran into his old friends from the street and began to make poor decisions, delving into the world of drinking, partying and crime. As a result, he was kicked off the football team in the summer of 2003.

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The loss of football led Clarett into a tailspin of depression. "I substituted drugs, women and the party lifestyle because I still craved the attention of the thousands of screaming fans that football provided me but that I no longer had access to." In 2005-06, Clarett was given a second chance when he was drafted by the Denver Broncos of the National Football League. Even that second chance could not help Clarett; the drugs, partying and depression continued. "Drugs had me so far in their control party all day, party all night and it destroyed me."

After his release by the Broncos, Clarett's life spun further out of control. On Aug. 9, 2006, he was arrested for weapons possession and speeding. He spent the next four years in jail, saying of the experience, "Prison can either humble you or turn you into an animal. I became a humble man."

Maurice Clarett's story is the inspirational tale of a meteoric rise to stardom and fame and a terrible crash back down to reality, with the message that even in the darkness of despair, one can still change one's life and grow. Maurice Clarett has done just that.

Eastern to Present Madeleine Albright

Written by Danielle Couture

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Willimantic, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University's Arts and Lecture series will present Madeline Albright, 64th Secretary of State of the United States, in the Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium at 7 p.m. on March 28, where she will speak about "Economy and Security in the 21st Century."


Albright served as the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 1993-1997. From 1989-1992, she served as president of the Center for National Policy. Previously, she was a member of President Jimmy Carter's National Security Council and White House staff, and served as chief legislative assistant to U.S. Sen. Edmund S. Muskie.


In 1997, Albright was named by President Bill Clinton as the first female Secretary of State and became, at that time, the highest ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government. As Secretary of State, she reinforced America's alliances, advocated for democracy and human rights, and promoted American trade, business, labor and environmental standards abroad.


 Albright is an endowed professor in diplomacy at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. She co-chairs the United Nations Development Programme's Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor and serves on the Board of Directors of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Board of Trustees for the Aspen Institute and the Board of Directors of the Center for a New American Security. Albright is also chair of Albright Stonebridge Group, a global strategy firm, and chair of Albright Capital Management LLC, an investment advisory firm. She is the author of five books and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.

Eastern Presents Maurice Clarett

Written by Danielle Couture

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Willimantic, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University's Office of Equity and Diversity will present "A Conversation with Maurice Clarett" as part of the University Hour Series at 3 p.m. on Feb. 26 in the Student Center Theatre.


Clarett's life has been very public as football took him places he never could have imagined.  In his freshman year at Ohio State University, Clarett rushed for 1,247 yards and helped lead his team to the national championship. Clarett has been referred to as one of the greatest impact freshman collegiate football players to ever play the game by many sports enthusiasts.  His life choices in the years following that stellar freshman year lead to his dismissal from college and a four-year prison sentence.  In this University Hour event, Clarett will share his life story with the hope of imparting wisdom he has learned the hard way. 

University Hour is free and open to the public.

President Núñez on Nellie Mae Education Foundation Board

Written by Ed Osborn

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Elsa M. Núñez, president of Eastern Connecticut State University, has joined the board of directors of the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, the largest charitable organization in New England focused exclusively on education. Warren Simmons, executive director of Brown University's Annenberg Institute for School Reform, has also joined the board. 

The years of experience and commitment that Núñez and Simmons bring to their new roles will help Nellie Mae succeed in making education more equitable and effective.  "We offer a very warm welcome to Dr. Núñez and Dr. Simmons to Nellie Mae's board of directors," said Nick Donohue, president and CEO of the Nellie Mae Education Foundation.  "Their commitment and close ties to both local and statewide communities, as well as their strategic visions and depths of experience, will bring value to the group and offer critical insight to the long-term success of our educational system."

Núñez has worked in education for more than 40 years and is a recognized leader.  She has been at Eastern Connecticut State University since 2006, where she has made a profound and lasting impact.  She has established Eastern's role as Connecticut's only public liberal arts university, while also providing valuable support for faculty and undergraduate research and academics. 

Her commitment to education access has contributed to Eastern having the highest percentage of minority faculty among all colleges and universities in Connecticut and has enhanced the retention rates of underrepresented student populations. Under her leadership, Eastern achieved the largest gain in the six-year graduation rate of Latino students from 2004-10. 
In addition to Nellie Mae Education's board of directors, Núñez currently serves on the boards of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, the Connecticut Association for Human Services, Leadership Greater Hartford, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, and the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning. Simmons currently co-chairs the Aspen Urban Superintendents Network, and serves on the National Research Council's Committee on Strengthening Science Education through a Teacher Learning Continuum.
Simmons directs the work of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University, which aims to improve outcomes and practices in urban schools, especially those serving economically disadvantaged students.  He also team teaches a course in Urban Systems and Structure in Brown University's Urban Education Policy Master's Program. 
Simmons is a recent recipient of the Distinguished Citizens Award from the National Governors Association and has served on the advisory groups and boards of several prominent national organizations including the National Center on Education and the Economy, Public Education Network, the Merck Institute, the National Equity Project, PLATO Learning, Inc. and the Campaign for Educational Equity.

Eastern's University Hour Series

Written by Jordan Sakal

Willimantic, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University will be holding eight University Hour events during the spring 2014 semester. The University Hour series includes events held by campus offices or clubs to build awareness on campus of ongoing issues in society. The events are held from 3 to 4 p.m on Wednesdays. at various locations on campus.  

The first event is a seminar on women and wealth set to occur Jan. 22 at 3 p.m. in the Student Center Theatre. Hosted by the Women's Center, the event will help women plan for a healthy financial future.

The semester's second event will occur Feb. 19 at 3 p.m., also in the Student Center Theatre. Sponsored by the Intercultural Center, the event "Half of Me" discusses diversity issues on campus focused on the LGBTQ community.

The semester's third event is "A Conversation with Maurice Clarett." Hosted by the Office of Equity and Diversity in the Student Center Theatre, the former Ohio State University football star discusses his rise to stardom playing college football and the lifestyle he chose that resulted in four years in prison.

Eastern Connecticut State University's Pride Room, Women's Center, Intercultural Center and Office of Equity and Diversity will host Division 1 basketball player Kye Allums on March 5 in the Student Center Theatre. Allums, is the first transgender Division I NCAA athlete.  He will discuss the challenges and triumphs of coming out as a transgender individual with his coaches, teammates and family.

March 12 brings the Girl Rising Project to Eastern, as the Women's Center hosts a groundbreaking feature film in the Student Center Theatre that spotlights the stories of nine unforgettable girls born into unforgiving circumstances.  The film captures their dreams, their voices and their remarkable lives.

On March 26, Chief Justice Chase Rogers of the Connecticut Supreme Court visits Eastern to discuss women and access to justice. The event is hosted by the Women's Center in the Student Center Theatre and seeks to empower women and teach them about their legal rights and responsibilities. 

 Interpersonal violence affects everyone in society.  On April 9 in the Student Center Theatre, Eastern remembers those who survived, faced or lost their lives to intimate partner and sexual violence.  Join the Women's Center for a discussion on current issues relating to interpersonal violence and a community response that empowers all to use their voice, their influence and their actions to become a part of the solution to interpersonal violence.

April 23 is the semester's final University Hour and will cover "The Economic Argument for Ethnic Studies" with host Jim Estrada. The event seeks to enrich professionals so that they become culturally aware of the changing world around them as business becomes increasingly more diverse, multinational and multiethnic.

All University Hour events are free of charge and open to the public.

 

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