September 25, 2008

With this first issue of the academic year, we extend a special welcome to those new to WellesleyWire, particularly parents of the Class of 2012 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 news and notices of campus events, visit the News & Public Affairs page.

Included in this issue are the following items:


The 597 members of the Class of 2012 arrived on campus in late August for a week of orientation. "From places as varied as Burma, Bahrain, Brooklyn and closer to home here in Boston, the Class of 2012 represents a wide range of experiences and brings a multitude of talents, both academic and extracurricular, as well as a diversity of perspectives to Wellesley,” notes Dean of Admission Jennifer Desjarlais. These new Wellesley women hail from 41 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and 33 countries. African-American, Latina/Hispanic, Asian American, and Native American students make up 47 percent of the class. Eleven percent are the first in their families to attend college.

At Convocation on the first day of the semester, President H. Kim Bottomly invited faculty and students to think of ideas to reinvigorate Wellesley as an intellectual community. "We have amassed a remarkable collection of talent here at Wellesley," she said. "What we need to do is work to make the life of the mind the unchallenged centerpiece of campus culture." 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, was celebrated September 21 in the newly restored Houghton Memorial Chapel. The event, which began in 1876 as a comforting way to ease students' homesickness, is a multicultural and multifaith celebration of friendship, filled with readings, reflection, 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.

The Newhouse Center for the Humanities has welcomed 15 scholars -- working on topics ranging from the iconography of an eighth-century Hindu temple to Somali popular culture to Leonard Bernstein and Broadway -- for the 2008-2009 academic year. Several of the scholars will teach undergraduate courses and faculty seminars; all will be involved in collaborative conversation throughout the year both with one another and with the Wellesley College community at large.

Read more at:
Wellesley Welcomes Class of 2012
Convocation speeches
Newhouse Center Fellows


While the pace of summer is different than the academic year, Wellesley faculty and students are often busy with their own scholarship, research, internships and summer jobs. Some recent examples include:

- Dan Brabander, geosciences, and student researchers explored the intersection of environmental geochemistry and public health with their study of lead contamination in some of Boston's backyard gardens. Click here for more.

- In his new book, Paul Fisher, American studies, explores the complex relationships among members of the storied James family, including novelist Henry, philosopher William and their sister Alice. In "House of Wits," Fisher follows the five James offspring and their parents through their privileged travels across the Atlantic; interludes in Newport and Cambridge; the younger boys' engagement in the Civil War; and William and Henry's later adventures in London, Paris and Italy. More information, including links to an audio interview with the author, is available on the News & Public Affairs Web site.

- More than 150 students received funding from Wellesley's Center for Work and Service to pursue summer internships around the U.S. and the globe. Experiences ranged from providing media coverage of the Beijing Olympic Games for ABC News and working with young writers on Teen Voices, a magazine by and for teenage girls, to preparing traveling exhibits for a museum.


In July, an imposing outdoor sculpture, Mozart III, by internationally renowned sculptor Kenneth Snelson was installed on the Wellesley campus. The piece, which stands 24 x 24 x 30 feet, consists of an angular matrix of polished stainless steel tubes joined by wire cables.
Snelson's sculptures often center around the concept of "floating compression" -- what Buckminster Fuller called "tensegrity;" that is, a gravity-independent system of push-pull forces that exist in dynamic equilibrium.

More information and photos of the sculpture's installation are online.


The Wellesley College Alumnae Association has begun work on an updated directory of alumnae, scheduled for publication in 2010. As with previous editions, the Association is working with its long-time and trusted partner, Harris Connect, on this valuable resource. The directory's new format will give alumnae an opportunity to include personal stories and photos as well as their contact information.

Later this fall, all Wellesley alumnae will receive an e-mail or letter asking them to update their records.

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Mary Ann Hill
Assistant Vice President for Public Affairs

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