Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

The giving tree

Pareskys sow opportunities

650_Paresky-9It’s a brilliant June morning on campus. Just outside of Balfour-Hood Center, two beautiful English oak trees sway in the breeze. The “coed oaks”—as they are affectionately known—were a gift of Susan “Sue” Stampler Paresky ’68 and her husband, Joseph.

The year was 1988, and Paresky, who was director of alumnae affairs at the time, planted the trees to commemorate a historic event in the story of the college: Wheaton was going co-ed.

But those weren’t the only seeds the Pareskys planted. That same year, the couple established the Joseph M. and Susan Stampler Paresky ’68 Fellowship to provide financial assistance to recent Wheaton graduates pursuing graduate studies. The Paresky Fellowship is still going strong, and 2013 marks its 25th anniversary.

Like the oak trees she planted 25 years ago, Susan Paresky’s roots run deep into the soil of Wheaton. After graduating, she married her husband on campus at Cole Memorial Chapel in 1972. She became director of alumnae affairs in 1982, set up the Paresky Fellowship in 1988, and from 1993 to 2003, she was a Trustee of the college, working on major issues like enrollment, budgets, strategic planning and, of course, fundraising.   [Read more...]

Swinging for the fences

Kenneth Babby ’02 aims to score big as new owner of Akron baseball team

Kenneth Babby ’02There’s no professional sports team owner in the United States like Kenneth Babby ’02. His birth certificate attests to that. At 33, the new head of the Akron Aeros Double-A baseball club is the youngest team owner in the country.

In a game that loves numbers, Babby doesn’t dwell on this distinction from this northeast Ohio city known as the “rubber capital of the world.” His marathon work days—he’ll arrive at downtown’s Canal Park by 8 a.m. and sometimes not leave until midnight—are consumed by altogether different metrics.

Such as the 68-foot-wide video board he recently installed beyond the left-center-field fence. Or the 20-scoop ice cream colossus known as “The Screamer,” which debuted at the Aeros’ season opener in April. The confection is even served in an authentic batting helmet that fans can take home.

This is baseball, Babby style. [Read more...]

Research with a side of adventure

Tropical biology takes students way out into the field

howler monkey

A howler monkey

The screams began before sunrise. And once they started, it was impossible to sleep. In the early morning darkness, the sounds suggested awful things: large beasts, such as dragons, trumpeting in anger. Or perhaps the sounds of war and death.

“The way I describe it is that it sounded like something being killed, or animals killing each other, like in a slow, painful way,” said Samantha Ferguson ’14. “It definitely sounded like death.”

The source of the sound: a troop of aptly named howler monkeys that had taken up residence in a stand of trees sheltering the river station dormitory at La Selva Biological Station. “The first time you hear that sound, every hair on your body stands up,” said Professor of Biology Scott Shumway, who has been visiting the tropics for more than 20 years.

“It’s not like your mother waking you up,” said Francine Camacho ’14. “It’s this screeching and then it hits you: ‘Wow, I’m really sleeping in the rainforest.’” [Read more...]

Native characters

The reef and rainforest ecosystems that students visit in the “Tropical Field Biology” course are incredibly diverse. Professor Scott Shumway offered field notes on a few of the species that students often focus on during the trip:

[Read more...]