Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
In the news

  • Iconic Americana

    Talking about Grants Woods and American Gothic

    Professor of Art Tripp Evans' book, Grant Wood: A Life, tells the great unknown story of the artist who created one of 20th century America's best-known and most-imitated (parodied) artworks.

    Fox News Boston anchor Gene Lavanchy sits down with Professor Evans to talk about Woods and about the book.

  • Portrait of an artist

    The New York Times reviews professor’s book

    Wheaton Professor of Art History R. Tripp Evans’s new biography Grant Wood: A Life (Alfred A. Knopf) will be released tomorrow, October 5. It already has received a big boost from a favorable review in the New York Times.

    The New York Times review, which calls Evans’s book “provocative,” focuses on the fact the professor gets behind the façade of the artist who is best known for his painting “American Gothic.” Who doesn’t know that iconic couple with the stern faces and the pitchfork?

    According to the New York Times review: “Mr. Evans offers intensive analysis of ‘American Gothic’ as well as many other Wood paintings, most notably ‘Parson Weems’ Fable’ (1939), which rivals ‘American Gothic’ for tacit but turbulent complexity…”

    In addition to survey courses, Evans teaches courses in modern architecture, the art of the United States, and Native American/pre-Columbian art. He also has recently developed a number of specialized courses in African American art, the development of the skyscraper, and feminist art history.

    Currently on sabbatical for the 2010-2011 academic year, the professor began his book tour last week at the Wisconsin Book Festival. He will continue the tour through December, visiting 16 cities overall in the United States and Canada, including stops at the National Portrait Gallery, and nine locations in the artist’s native Iowa. The full tour schedule (as well as an excerpt from the book) is available at www.grantwoodalife.com.

    For the past few years, Evans’s scholarship has been devoted to the life and work of Grant Wood. “The book reflects my fascination with 1930s modernism, and in particular, with the way nationalist themes in American art have often been driven by highly personal motive,” he said. “This is a favorite theme in the American art classes I teach at Wheaton, and one that I hope to expand upon when I return next fall.”

  • Inspiring voices

    Listening to women behind the veil

    Roxanna AzariRoxanna Azari '10 graduated from Wheaton with a far-reaching mission and the resources to pursue it around the globe.

    A double major in women's studies and English with a concentration in creative writing, Azari won a Watson Fellowship to study the religious, political and personal meanings ascribed to the veils worn by women in many Islamic countries. This year, she plans to visit France, Morocco, Turkey, India and the United Arab Emirates, to uncover the stories of women behind the veil and reveal the diversity of opinions, beliefs and personal stories behind the clothing.

    Currently in India, Azari appears to be striking a chord with people near the city of Mumbai, where she organized a poetry writing workshop and performance with a group of young women. The Mumbai Mirror described the scene this way:

    While the loud Azaan from the nearby mosque silenced the crowd of 50 women and few men inside the tiny hall in Kurla, the enthusiasm of the performing poetesses hung thick in the air. After all, it was the evening of Bazm-e-Sukhan, wherein 12 young otherwise-shy Muslim girls from Mumbra were standing before an encouraging audience of family, friends and well-wishers, as they performed their own poetry in various formats. The inspiration behind this activity, Iranian-American Spoken Word poet Roxanna Azari, stood cheering each of her students-turned-friends.

    Azari is the latest Wheaton student to win a Watson Fellowship. The Thomas J. Watson Foundation presents the awards to college seniors of unusual promise for a year of independent exploration and travel outside the United States. Nearly 1,000 students from up to 40 selective private liberal arts colleges and universities apply for these awards each year.

  • Applied politics

    Wheaton education provides background for public service

    Michael Rotondi '92 ran for public office right after he graduated from Wheaton, winning the post of Town Moderator in Stoneham, his hometown.

    The move, he told the Winchester Star, was inspired by his college experience.

    “It was about serving local government and applying what I learned in political science at Wheaton College,” he said. “I figured I might as well get involved. How else are you supposed to learn about the experiences, the issues and the things that the common people are experiencing in the town?”

    Now, with 17 years experience as the town moderator, Rotondi is running as an Independent candidate to represent the 31st Middlesex District in the Massachusetts Legislature.

  • Surprising catch

    English major’s catch on a lobster boat.

    Lobstering is a way of life on Deer Isle and other communities along coastal Maine.

    After graduation from Wheaton in May 2009, Sam Kestenbaum spent a season lobstering in his hometown. The work not only provided an income while plotting his course, but it also yielded a hold full of rich memories and observations that the music major has drawn upon in his writing.

    Kestenbaum's tales of lobstering on Penobscot Bay have appeared online in a blog maintained by fellow Wheaton students  as well as in the college's magazine, the Wheaton Quarterly.

    The latest publication to pick up on Kestenbaum's evocative stories: The New York Times. The newspaper published his reflections on his Jewish heritage and faith, a somewhat exotic background for Down East Maine, and the storm that made it possible for him to celebrate Yom Kippur without missing a day of work.

    Growing up on Deer Isle, I quickly learned that there was something a little different about how my family worshiped. There were many churches on the island — from Catholic to Protestant to Latter-day Saints; from small, one-room church houses to big, established churches with freshly paved driveways. We didn’t pray at any of these. Instead we made a weekly pilgrimage to the nearest synagogue, 60 miles away in Bangor.

    Now, Kestenbaum is living in Beijing, China, where he works as the editor of a bimonthly magazine and is studying Mandarin.

  • Campaigning from Cairo

    New SGA president looks ahead

    Winning an election requires hard work and determination, no matter the office. However, some candidates face formidable obstacles.

    Case in point: Emily Firment '11, who spent the spring semester of her junior year abroad in Egypt, which happened to be when elections for president of the Student Government Association took place.

    With an ocean and several time zones in the way, many would-be candidates might choose to retire. Firment charged ahead, with the help of Skype and an extremely well-organized running mate (Alexandra Schiabanoff '12). And they won.

    With the new school year approaching, the Sun Chronicle talked with Firment about how she won her post and her hopes for the academic year. And she is expecting the SGA to make an impact.

    Wheaton is certainly a college where the students voices are heard. Personally, I have been able to interact with a large number of the faculty and staff through various committees and meetings. From dining oversight meetings to strategic planning meetings to trustee meetings, students are in attendance and they are always given the time to speak.

  • Showers forecast

    Professor looks to Perseid meteor shower

    The Wheaton College Observatory provides the best place for nearby residents to gaze at the stars, and Professor of Astronomy Timothy Barker serves as the go-to expert for speaking to the news media about astronomical events, such as eclipses and meteor fly-bys.

    The latest space weather predicts a light show from the Perseid meteor showers, which were created by the collision of the Swift-Tuttle comet with the Earth's atmosphere.

    Barker told The Sun Chronicle newspaper that the best time for viewing will be in the early morning hours (3 to 4 p.m.) through Sunday, Aug. 15.

  • Cultural exchange

    On English, s’mores and other slang

    A group of Chinese high school students are learning about s'mores, hot-dogging on the court and other aspects of American culture as part of a pilot program to provide English language instruction to foreign students.

    The program, which is being developed and managed by the Center for Global Education, reflects the college's growing involvement in global education.

    The 33 high school students from Nanjing Normal High School in Shanghai are spending their mornings in English language instruction and American cultural education. The balance of their days are spent in more active forms of learning, from meeting and eating s'mores and learning to play basketball to field trips to Cape Cod, Boston and New York.(The global center has posted more photos.)

    The students' introduction to America also included social time with their peers from nearby Norton High School. And as an article in the local Sun Chronicle pointed out, they were not the only ones doing the learning:

    "It's given me the opportunity to learn about a culture I wouldn't have had a chance to learn about," Norton High senior Mike Gillis, 17, said of the program.

    Norton High Principal Raymond Dewar said a lot of the Norton students there were attending a new YMCA/DARE camp for Norton, Attleboro and North Attleboro students. A few others were counselors at the camp.

    "I want them to think more globally. I want them to be exposed to more cultures. I want them to reach out to other people," Dewar said.

  • Love of the game

    Scholar-athlete talks about his passion for competition

    Wheaton's intercollegiate athletics program takes great pride in the performance of its teams.

    The college's athletics web site currently touts the fact that the program ranked 53rd in the country among NCAA Division III schools, according to the Learfield. The site also highlights Wheaton's eight NCAA national championships, 13, ECAC titles, and 84 NEWMAC regular season and tournament crowns.

    All legitimate reasons for pride. Distance runner Sean Astle highlights another reason to boast about Wheaton's sports. The college fields scholar-athletes who take learning and school very seriously, he tells the Fairfield Citizen.

    "We try, as a team, to become Academic All-Americans," Astle said. "We got that this year."

    And by the way, he adds, "Some of my best friends are teammates and they're national champions."

  • Wheaton bound

    The inspiring story of a first-year student

    Summer brings with it small announcements from newspapers around the country about outstanding students headed to Wheaton in the fall.

    This one from the New York Daily News caught our attention. Francine Camacho graduated from the Brooklyn Academy of Science and Engineering as its valedictorian, and the story of how she achieved her goals is inspiring, to say the least. (President Ronald Crutcher congratulated Francine personally and spoke at BASE's graduation ceremony.)

    "I wanted to be different," the 17-year-old said yesterday. "I wanted to be the exception. School was my way out."