September 11, 2007

With this first issue of the academic year, we extend a special welcome to those new to WellesleyWire, particularly parents of the Class of 2011 and other entering students. WellesleyWire is an occasional e-mail digest of noteworthy news and announcements from Wellesley College plus information about Wellesley faculty, students and alumnae in the news. For more frequent information, visit the News & Public Affairs page at . Included in this issue are the following:


The 590 members of the class of 2011 arrived on campus in late August for a week of orientation and have already begun to make their mark on campus. The students -- including a talented glassblower, a master of the martial arts, and a budding sustainable agronomist -- were chosen from 4,135 applicants, the second highest number of applications ever received.

President H. Kim Bottomly, who arrived on campus August 1, greeted the new students and their families at during Orientation activities. She made her first public address to the campus community at Convocation on September 4. In addition to speeches and greetings, the ceremony provided an opportunity for members of the senior class to wear academic caps and gowns for the first time as they processed with the faculty into Hay Amphitheatre behind Alumnae Hall.

Flower Sunday, Wellesley's oldest and longest-surviving tradition, will be celebrated September 16. The event, which began as a comforting way to ease students' homesickness, is a multicultural and multifaith celebration of song, music and dance. First-year students are paired with upperclasswomen ("big sisters"), who often bring a bouquet and accompany their "little sisters" to the festivities.


While the pace of summer may be different than the academic year, Wellesley faculty are busy with their own scholarship, working with student researchers, and sharing their expertise via the news media. Some recent examples include:

- In a wire story before the release of the final Harry Potter book, Mary Lefkowitz, classical studies (emerita), used her knowledge of Greek mythology to raise the possibility that the famous boy wizard might not survive. "There's no long promise of happiness," she noted in stories that ran in more than 70 publications worldwide. "You may have brief moments of glory and then the darkness comes." The second edition of Lefkowitz's "Women in Greek Myth" was published this summer. More information is online: Releases/2007/071707.html

- Peggy Levitt, sociology, has been quoted in a variety of publications, including The Boston Globe and The Christian Science Monitor, on the topic of immigration. Her new book, "God Needs No Passport: Immigrants and the Changing American Religious," explores the ties between religion and immigration. More information is online at Releases/2007/051507.html

- While Wilbur Rich, political science, does not cover Barack Obama in his latest book, the presidential candidate provides Rich an opportunity to continue his discussion of the African American impact on politics. "African American Perspectives on Political Science" is a collection of 18 essays edited by Rich, who traces a history of race being ignored and distorted in the political world. Through their essays, the writers, all African American political scientists, analyze race in the realms of political mobilization and public policy-making. More on Rich's book is online at Releases/2007/080107.html


Twelve scholars-- working on topics as varied as obsolescence in American architecture, girlhood in Japan and the societal impact of pensions-- will be in residence at the Newhouse Center for the Humanities for the academic year. Each scholar brings a new perspective and intellectual excitement to the campus, and we look forward to the variety of ways in which they will enliven each other and the Wellesley College community by their presence here, noted Tim Peltason, center director and professor of English.

The incoming scholars include 10 Newhouse Fellows, four of whom are Wellesley faculty on sabbatical, and two visiting scholars, law professor Anita Hill and Iranian writer and activist Mehrangiz Kar, who comes to Wellesley via the "Scholars at Risk" network.

More information is available online at Releases/2007/081407.html


The Wellesley College Archives has launched a newly designed and improved Web site,

In addition to the redesign, the Web site now contains guides to a number of the processed collections in the Archives. This will allow researchers to see a listing of some of the materials found in the Archives without having to contact the Archives. A bit of background: archival institutions rely on "finding aids" (the archival term) or guides to describe the contents of a collection. Finding aids typically include a bit of information about the office or individual that created or gathered the records, and a listing of the folders of materials which comprise the collection. Here's an example:

The archivists will be adding more finding aids to the Web site as they continue to convert existing finding aids to electronic form and prepare finding aids for newly processed collections. The Archives' goal is to have full finding aids for all of the processed collections on the Web site in the next several years.

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Mary Ann Hill
Assistant Vice President for Public Affairs

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