Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

Jessica Bruce ’87 is a success story at AP

Jessica Bruce ’87It’s little exaggeration to call The Associated Press (AP) the backbone of American news.

Even if you don’t realize it, you probably consume AP journalism almost every time you engage with the media. All that content in newspapers and on local TV newscasts and digital portals is created by thousands of AP employees spread across 263 locations, including every statehouse in the U.S., plus 105 other countries.

Since 2005, the task of overseeing human resources for that sizable staff has fallen to AP senior vice president Jessica Bruce ’87, one of eight executives on the organization’s senior management team who report directly to CEO Gary Pruitt. Bruce added a second title to her business card in April 2016, when she was promoted to lead corporate communications as well.

“Jessica has been a key leader for The Associated Press for more than a decade,” Pruitt said when Bruce’s new position was announced. “In this broader role, we will benefit to an even greater extent from her keen intellect and sound judgment.” [Read more...]

Backstage in spotlight

Colin McNamee ’04 shines behind the scenes

Colin McNamee ’04 Behind every theater production at Wheaton is stagecraft and lighting mastermind Colin McNamee ’04.

The alum, who majored in studio art at Wheaton, graduated more than 10 years ago, but after working in various theaters and venues, he has found his way back on campus as an instructor and technical director.

“After working at a few other institutions—including several academic ones—I find that Wheaton stands out as a kind and generous place. I don’t know of any other place like it,” McNamee said.

As a student, McNamee secured a federal work-study position under former theater manager and technical director Jeffrey Mailhot. “This is where I got most of my technical training, up through graduation,” McNamee said.

In this role, he worked in the shop to build sets like a massive staircase that filled the whole stage for the production Antigone and a two-story house for the play Tartuffe. [Read more...]

Mesmerizing tales

Smith-Johnson pens book on Cape Cod history

Robin Smith-Johnson ’76Cape Cod enjoys a rich tradition of local lore and legends, including many that predate the arrival of the Pilgrims.

In her recently published book, Legends & Lore of Cape Cod (History Press, 2016), Robin Smith-Johnson ’76 spins tales about love, shipwrecks, murders, hauntings, witches, ancient Wampanoag legends, and much more, from this 339-square-mile peninsula in eastern Massachusetts.

1976 Johnson Smith photo 2Smith-Johnson, who majored in English at Wheaton, is passionate about all things literature and history.

For the past 17 years, she has served as the Cape Cod Times’ librarian, conducting research for reporters and editors, in addition to other duties. She also has served on the faculty of Cape Cod Community College since 2003, teaching various English classes, including English Composition I, Foundations in Writing and Creative Writing. (She received her master’s degree in English at Bowling Green.) [Read more...]

Empowered woman

Ashley Sweeney ’79 publishes Eliza Waite

Ashley Sweeney ’79Not all stories are planned. Often inspiration comes about suddenly or unexpectedly, and the writer never looks back.

For Ashley Sweeney ’79, the idea for Eliza Waite (She Writes Press, 2016) first emerged while was hiking with her husband, Michael, through the dense woods of Cypress Island in the San Juan Islands in Washington State.

1979 Sweeney photo bookcoverThe couple took a wrong turn, and ended up at a sheltered cove on the island’s north side, just below a massive cliff face. There, they spied a long-abandoned, dilapidated cabin. A nearby plaque told of owner Zoe Hardy, a self-sufficient hermit from the 1930s.

It was the first inkling of an idea for Eliza Waite, the main character of Sweeney’s future book.

“I imagined a reclusive woman living in a cabin, and the story that would have led her there, and also the story that would have led her away from there,” Sweeney said. “As a historical fiction aficionado and an American literature and American history major at Wheaton, the find fascinated me and was full of possibility.” [Read more...]