Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

Commencement speaker national museum director

Photograph by Franko Khoury National Museum of African Art Smithsonian InstitutionJohnnetta B. Cole, director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C., will deliver the keynote address at Wheaton’s 179th Commencement on May 17.

Cole is a scholar, author and activist for social and economic justice. As director of the National Museum of African Art since 2009, she oversees a collection of more than 10,000 objects of various media and art forms.

Previously, she was president of Bennett College and Spelman College, making history in 1987 as the first African American woman to lead Spelman. She also was the first African American to serve as chair of the board of United Way of America, from 2004 to 2006, and the first woman on the board of Coca-Cola Enterprises.

She currently serves on the scholarly advisory board for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, the construction of which will be completed on the National Mall by 2015. She also is chair of the board of the Johnnetta B. Cole Global Diversity and Inclusion Institute at Bennett College.

Cole, who started college at age 15, has a master’s degree and doctorate in anthropology from Northwestern University. She has held teaching positions at several schools, including Emory University.

She has been awarded more than 50 honorary degrees and has received numerous awards, including the Joseph Prize for Human Rights, presented by the Anti-Defamation League, and the Otis Social Justice Award from Wheaton in 2010. That year she also was named one of Ebony magazine’s 100 most influential African Americans. The American Council on Education awarded her the Reginald Wilson Diversity Leadership Award in March 2013.

In May, Cole will receive an honorary degree at Commencement, as will Ronald A. Crutcher and four of Wheaton’s distinguished alumnae/i: [Read more...]

Sifting through the science, politics of sugar

Pictured, left to right, FYS students Eloise Peabbles, Jerard Fredette, Anna Blumenthal, Professor Laura Muller, Peter Green, Sierra Luciano and Krista Van Bruggen

Pictured, left to right, FYS students Eloise Peabbles, Jerard Fredette, Anna Blumenthal, Professor Laura Muller, Peter Green, Sierra Luciano and Krista Van Bruggen

In March, the World Health Organization announced guidelines on sugar consumption, recommending that sugar intake not exceed 5 percent of total daily calories. That’s a challenge, considering that Americans are consuming more added sugar than ever, points out Associate Professor of Chemistry Laura Muller. In 1980, the per capita consumption was about 120 pounds per year. The U.S. Census Bureau now reports that Americans eat 132 pounds per year. Muller and her students took a look at the science and politics of sugar during her fall semester First-Year Seminar (FYS), “How Sweet It Is?” We recently talked to her about their work together. [Read more...]

Publications, honors and creative works: Faculty

Jonathan Brumberg-Kraus, professor of religion, published the article ‘‘‘Better a Meal of Vegetables with Love’: The Symbolic Meaning of Vegetables in Rabbinic and Post-Rabbinic Midrash on Proverbs 15.17” in the Jewish Quarterly Review (Winter 2014).

Delvyn Case, assistant professor of music, created a children’s piece for narrator and strings, “Lighthouse Keeper: The Story of Abbie Burgess,” which was performed by members of the Jackson Symphony Orchestra in March 2014 as part of their educational outreach program at elementary schools in Michigan.

Michael Drout, professor of English, presented “The Tower and the Ruin: How to Read J.R.R. Tolkien’s Creation” on Oct. 17, 2013, at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan. He also published “The Tower and the Ruin: The Past in Tolkien’s Works,” a chapter in the book Tolkien: The Forest and the City (Four Courts Press, 2013).

[Read more...]

Publications, honors and creative works: Alumnae/i

Marjorie Gelb Jones ’62 was invited to Rome to speak about the biography she wrote, Frances Yates and the Hermetic Tradition (Ibis Press, 2008), at a book fair in December 2013. The translation was introduced there.