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  • OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Inaugural honor

    Alumna shares her experience attending 2017 presidential inaugural ball.


    Jennifer Field '00 and Carolyn Johnstone Grierer '96

    Jennifer Field ’00 attended the 2017 All American Inaugural Ball in Washington, D.C. on January 19, as an honoree receiving an All American Hero award for her contributions to the field of brain health and research. Field is founder and president of The J Field Foundation, which raises funds to support people who have had brain injuries.

    Field attended the ball with close friend and fellow alumna Carolyn Johnstone Grierer ’96 as well as her mother, Joanne Field (co-author of her memoir), and her uncle and his fiancée. She called the experience “one of the most thrilling nights of my life” and shared some photos from the event, as well as the following write-up, which she crafted for her local newspaper, the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript:

    I was invited to the All American Inaugural Ball on Jan. 19, 2017, honoring heroes, in Washington, D.C. I was so thrilled to be selected as one of their honored guests. The focus of the ball this year was in the field of brain health and research. Understanding and enhancing brain function is a bold new frontier.

    Part of the invitation read,

    'We are proud to honor a few individuals who have dedicated their lives to educating, inspiring and motivating others to make the most of their brains and their lives.'


    Driving in to the event, we passed the Capitol, all lit up in the darkness, looking very majestic. I began to feel so humbled, realizing this was such an incredible honor. I was about to be presented with a hero award for my work with traumatic brain injury.

    I arrived at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill, and was immediately overwhelmed by the amount of people and the long lines. Thank goodness I was met almost immediately by my handler, SueAnne, and whisked away to a VIP room. I felt I was in a dream, because there I was, with Buzz Aldrin and Oliver North. Soon we were being given instructions on what would happen and how to make our way through the crowd to the stage. Before I knew it, there I was holding hands with Kate Ortman, also an honoree, making my way though hundreds of people to the stage.


    As I stood there, on the stage, waiting for my name to be called, I had that similar rush of excitement that I used to feel as I rode into the ring as an equestrian competitor. I was about to be honored by Alvaro Fernandez, and I truly felt that I had won the blue ribbon.

    That was one of the most thrilling nights of my life, and I will never forget it. I want to thank everyone who contributed to and gave me this wonderful moment.

  • Field_Cover_for_Web-235x300 American hero

    Wheaton alumna Jennifer Field ’00 will be honored at the 2017 All American Inaugural Ball.

    Wheaton alumna Jennifer Field ’00 will be honored as an American hero at the 2017 All American Inaugural Ball on January 19, sharing the stage with astronaut Buzz Aldrin and nine other distinguished citizens.

    Field is founder and president of The J Field Foundation, which raises funds to help people with brain injuries access alternative therapies. The foundation also recently partnered with the Veterans Equine Therapeutic Services of Connecticut to provide healing therapeutic services to veterans.

    The field of brain health and research is one of the areas of focus for the 2017 All American Inaugural Ball, according to the ball website.

    Field and her peers are being honored with a 2017 All American Hero award for their “outstanding and tireless work” in civic service at the Washington, D.C., event, which celebrates the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States. Aldrin will receive the All American Hero Lifetime Achievement Award.

    According to a summary of her accomplishments on the ball website: “Jennifer Field exemplifies the character of a hero. She worked tirelessly and relentlessly for years to overcome her own challenges, and then made her life’s work all about helping others to do the same.”

    Field was seventeen years old when she was involved in a near fatal car accident that left her in a coma and with severe brain damage. She spent a decade undergoing numerous therapies and treatments, many not covered by insurance, to regain her physical independence. She graduated magna cum laude from Wheaton in 2000 with a major in art history.

    Field recently published a book about her experience. From Blue Ribbon To Code Blue: A Girl’s Courage, Her Mother’s Love, A Miracle Recovery was released in October 2016 through Baughan Publishing LLC.

    Professor of Art History Evelyn Staudinger, who was one of Field's mentors at Wheaton and remains a friend, discusses in the book Field's determination throughout her recovery and as she worked toward her degree at Wheaton.

    "Jen lives beautifully in the present. When things in my life are difficult, I always think about how she created a new world for herself—with emphasis on the word 'created,'" Staudinger said. "And she has not only made herself a better person, but others become better for having known her."

  • RS143299_Ariel photo-scr Best value

    Wheaton makes Kiplinger’s 2017 list of colleges that combine quality and affordability.

    Wheaton College has been recognized as a “best value” college in Kiplinger’s 2017 list of the 300 Best Value Colleges and Universities.

    In compiling the list, Kiplinger’s considers tuition costs, financial aid opportunities, educational efficiency and future earning potential, according to an article published in the Providence Business News.

    Based in Washington, D.C., Kiplinger’s produces a weekly business forecast, The Kiplinger Letter, and a monthly magazine, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, as well as the annual Best Value Colleges and Universities list. Institutions are selected “based on quality and affordability,” according to the Kiplinger’s website.

    For the 2015–16 academic year, Wheaton students received about $41.4 million in need-based financial aid, as well as $6.5 million in merit-based awards. Students also graduated with less debt than the average among other colleges in Massachusetts, according to data from the Office of Student Financial Services.

    In a survey distributed among Wheaton graduates six months out, 97 percent reported finding success after college—including 63 percent employed, 22 percent enrolled in graduate school and the remaining 13 percent engaged in volunteer service, prestigious fellowships or internships. (These numbers include respondents from the classes of 2014 and 2015. Class of 2016 results are expected early in 2017.)

  • Dashing Sounds of the Season Sounds of the season

    Music professor Delvyn Case’s original composition “Rocket Sleigh” is featured on a new compilation CD and is making the rounds at orchestra concerts this holiday season.

    It’s that time of year again—the holiday season—and Delvyn Case’s original composition “Rocket Sleigh” is making the rounds once more among orchestras across the United States and beyond.

    Included in that list is the Portland Symphony Orchestra in Maine, just a few miles away from where the Wheaton associate professor of music grew up. In an article published recently by Maine Today, Case recalled attending performances by the Portland orchestra as a child and enjoying in particular the whip sound in the song “Sleigh Ride,” which he said helped inspire his own composition.

    “This piece has filled a real niche,” Case told the magazine of “Rocket Sleigh,” which he completed in 2009. “Almost every orchestra does a holiday family show, and they’re all looking for new material. This is perfect for them, because it’s not a medley or a new arrangement. It’s a new piece.”

    More than 60 orchestras have performed “Rocket Sleigh” since 2009, including the National Symphony, Toronto Symphony and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic.

    Twelve orchestras are scheduled to perform the composition during the 2016 holiday season, and the piece is part of the lineup for the touring acrobatics show Cirque de la Symphonie, according to a recent writeup in the Boston Globe South.

    Wheaton's concert band, the Southeastern Massachusetts Wind Symphony, also performed the band version of "Rocket Sleigh" earlier this fall.

    In addition, Case’s composition is featured on a new CD released in September by Navona Records. Titled Dashing: Sounds of the Season, the compliation features new works, like Case’s, and new arrangements of old holiday favorites. It includes performances by The Stanbery Singers, the Salt Lake City Jazz Orchestra and the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra, which performs “Rocket Sleigh.”

    Case received funding support from Wheaton for his share of the Dashing project.

    Case said he likes that “Rocket Sleigh” reaches a broad audience, as often the holiday concert is the only orchestra performance a person might attend all year.

    “My piece gets to be an ambassador for orchestral music in a small way—possibly encouraging some people to attend more frequently and to make classical music a larger part of their lives,” he said.

  • RS164765_Dennis Hanno_160-scr Presidents to president-elect

    President Hanno and other college presidents urge President-elect Trump to forcefully speak out against hate and violence.

    A group of 110 college presidents, including Wheaton President Dennis M. Hanno, issued a joint letter to President-elect Donald Trump, urging him "to condemn and work to prevent the harassment, hate and acts of violence that are being perpetrated across our nation, sometimes in your name ...."

    The letter was published on Friday, Nov. 14, by Inside Higher Education, a web-based news organization that covers higher education. President Hanno and his colleagues at campuses across the country said the message to President-elect Trump is intentionally non-partisan in nature.

    "As an institution and a community, Wheaton values diversity, inclusion and a civil and respectful exchange of ideas and perspectives. That's central to our academic mission," President Hanno said. "I want for our country what we have worked so hard to develop here on our campus—an open and inclusive environment, welcoming to people from all backgrounds and traditions."

    President Hanno has been active in advocating for respectful dialogue in civic life and in speaking out on the importance of diversity and inclusion. Earlier in the year, the Washington Post published an essay he wrote that illuminated the divisive nature of much public discourse. He also has been active in permitting these ideas on campus, leading the launch of Wheaton's "Building Community Together" campaign now in its second year.

    Students, faculty and staff at the college also have been responding to recent events with calls for greater understanding and civility, including the ongoing Community Conversation series of lectures and panels organized by the Provost's Office. Most recently, the campus hosted a  “Take a Stand Against Hate and Rally for Peace,” which was organized by the Office of Service, Spirituality and Social Responsibility, the Council on Inclusion and Diversity, and the Student Government Association.


  • Thirteen-year-old Chris Strynar, pictured during a recent interview on ABC, is taking a physics course at Wheaton College. Talent for numbers

    A Norton eighth grader with advanced mathematical skills is taking classes at Wheaton and Harvard toward a liberal arts degree.

    Local eighth grader Chris Strynar is getting a head start on his college education by attending classes at Wheaton.

    The thirteen-year-old from Norton, Mass., discovered an early talent for mathematics and a passion for the subject, leading him to pursue academics at the college level starting in fifth grade, when he took courses at nearby Bristol Community College, according to a recent piece in The Sun Chronicle. He was just 10 years old.

    His dad, Chris Strynar Sr., told the newspaper that he first noticed his son’s mathematical abilities when the boy was in kindergarten.

    "We used to play little math games with him, and noticed he had some ability," Strynar Sr. said. "One day when we all got in the car for a short trip, he blurted out 'teach me multiplication.'"

    By the end of the car ride, his son was easily working multiplication problems, Strynar Sr. said.

    This fall, the teen is taking a physics class with Wheaton Professor John Collins, as well as an advanced mathematics course at Harvard University. According to his dad, Strynar has already earned 28 credits toward a college degree and is on track to complete it by the age of 16.

    Interviewed by WCVB Channel 5 on Tuesday evening, Professor Collins said the teen was doing well in his class.

    “He seems to enjoy the work. And I think that's the key. When you enjoy the work, it's not work anymore,” Collins said.

  • This photo by Bruce Owens was taken July 15 1991, and shows the chariot that is at the center of the festival being pulled back to Bungamati, the god's village home, after the conclusion of the 12-year festival. Forty years of festival

    Anthropologist Bruce Owens captures a fascinating Nepali tradition in a series of photographs that are on display this fall around Nepal.

    Associate Professor of Anthropology Bruce Owens’s photographs of Nepal’s annual Rāto Matsyendranāth festival—of which he has thousands, taken over nearly 40 years—are being featured this fall in three exhibits in that country.

    Owens’s images were on display from October 21 through November 3 during Photo Kathmandu, an international photography festival, held in Kathmandu, Nepal. As part of the photo festival, the images were displayed at two temples in Kathmandu that honor Matsyendranāth, a god of rain who is worshipped by both Hindus and Buddhists and who is celebrated with the annual Rāto Matsyendranāth festival.

    A third exhibition is being held at the Patan Museum in Patan, Nepal from October 27 through November 26. Following that show, Owens’ photographs will join the museum’s permanent collection and may be displayed at other museums around Nepal.

    Owens’s photos were taken between 1977 and 2016 and are part of his ongoing research on the people and cultures of Nepal, Himalaya and South Asia.

    “I used photography as a tool for learning as well as documenting a festival that was inherently chaotic,” Owens wrote of the exhibits in the Nepali Times. “As an anthropologist, I try to have as little impact as possible and introduce myself to the people involved and ask to meet them again to talk about what they were doing. I give them copies of the photographs and use them to ask questions.”

    Owens said the exhibits are “continuations of my practice of learning through sharing images and thanking those portrayed within them” and that the response to the photographs has been overwhelmingly positive.

    “Many have pointed out relatives and friends that [the images] depict who are no longer with us,” he said. “As always, I continue to learn about the festival as people share their memories and thoughts while looking at the photos.”

    In an interview published in the English edition of onlinekhabar.com, Owens explained how he first came to be interested in Nepal and in the festival in particular.

    “I walked into Patan for the first time and a crowd of little boys came around seeking to be my guide. They all said the same thing—‘Do you want to see the golden temple?’ ‘Do you want to see the Ashok Stupa?’—and one said, ‘Do you want to see a festival?’ I picked him. The rest is history,” Owens said.

  • Professor Mary Lee Griffin, left, with first grade classroom teacher Brooke Alam Beach ’07 at the Paul Cuffee Charter School in Providence, R.I. WGBH features professor in story about mindfulness

    WGBH’s “Greater Boston” turns to Prof. Mary Lee Griffin to explain the benefits of the new emphasis on meditation in education.

    The practice of being present and mindful has many benefits that can help students academically as well as socially—especially young children.

    Wheaton College Professor of Education Mary Lee Griffin for years has been working to spread mindfulness techniques in five local schools, and she has provided many Wheaton students with training to carry out the ongoing work and secured experiential learning opportunities for them.

    On October 20, WGBH's "Greater Boston" news program took note in a story highlighting the growing number of schools adding mindfulness, meditation and yoga to the curriculum to help kids develop coping skills. Public schools statewide, including in Cambridge and Somerville, have such programs. For example, Marblehead High has a Zen Room for meditation and relaxation for students to deal with stress and anxiety. Professor of Education Mary-Lee Griffin, among others, was interviewed about the trend.

    Professor Mary Lee Griffin

    Professor Mary Lee Griffin, left, with first grade classroom teacher Brooke Alam Beach ’07 at the Paul Cuffee Charter School in Providence, R.I.

    Professor Mary Lee Griffin, left, with first grade classroom teacher Brooke Alam Beach ’07 at the Paul Cuffee Charter School in Providence, R.I.[/caption]

    There is research on depression and other stress-related ailments that supports the need for these practices, Griffin told reporter Tina Martin. “Children are under a great deal of stress. There is the stress of doing school work that often is developmentally above their capability, there is the stress of home life, there is the stress of this world we live in and what they’re bombarded with everyday.”

    The mindfullness protocol that Griffin developed was most recently used at the Paul Cuffee Charter School in Providence, R.I., to help elementary school children improve their educational experience and interactions outside of the classroom. (Read about it in the winter issue of the Wheaton Quarterly.)




  • CGM-poster-1 Brava!

    Boston Globe writer Don Aucoin lists a play written by Professor Charlotte Meehan and starring Professor Stephanie Daniels as one of his picks for the upcoming theater season in the Fall Arts Preview.

    The title of the play itself is enough to get your attention: Cleanliness, Godliness, and Madness: A User’s Guide.

    But then when you realize that Wheaton College Associate Professor of Theater Stephanie Daniels stars in it and that Professor of English Charlotte Meehan wrote it, well, you know it must be crazy good fun.

    And then there is this:

    Boston Globe writer Don Aucoin lists the play as one of his picks for the upcoming theater season in the Fall Arts Preview and includes a nice shout out of praise for Daniels, who is described as “so memorably fearless in Sleeping Weazel’s production of Kenneth Prestininzi’s Birth Breath Bride Elizabeth.

    Cleanliness, Godliness, and Madness: A User’s Guide, directed by Robbie McCauley, is being presented by Meehan’s Boston-based multimedia theater company Sleeping Weazel September 15 to 17, and September 22 to 24, at 7:30 p.m., at the Plaza Black Box Theater at the Boston Center for the Arts.

    The play is Meehan’s response to the current U.S. election cycle. In an interview with Edge Media Network, the playwright discusses the inspiration behind the play and how it relates to her life on a personal level.

    “As with all my plays, the plot is a loosely assembled puzzle of surprise, tangentiality, quickly alternating moments of hilarity and anguish and, in this play, extreme displays of rapture and flashes of the sublime,” she told interviewer Killian Melloy.

    This is not the first time dynamic duo Daniels and Meehan have worked together. Their collaborations date back to 2005 when Daniels directed a mainstage production of Meehan's SpellSong, which Daniels directed. That began a decade of continued work together with projects ranging from Looking for George, a multimedia plea to then President George W. Bush to end the war in Iraq, to 27 Tips for Banishing the Blues.



  • Patriotic means

    Professor Huiskamp offers insight on competing views of patriotism

    Patriotism is complicated. It involves pride certainly, but beyond that, agreement can be hard to find.

    For some, only those who show unconditional allegiance to country can be considered patriots, while others believe it is patriotic to protest when their country acts in ways with which they disagree. Such conflicting viewpoints have often been brought into view during times of national disagreement, such as the protests over the Vietnam War.

    San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick's refusal to stand for the playing of the national anthem has brought such disagreements to the fore once more, and it has prompted members of the news media to turn to Professor of Political Science Gerard Huiskamp for perspective on the debate.

    USA Today culled competing viewpoints on Kaepernick's action from social media and asked Professor Huiskamp to comment on the ideas underlying the controversy. In his scholarly work, the professor often distinguishes between perspectives on loyalty to country as "deferential" and "inquisitive" patriotism and described the latter as a dedication to national ideals.

    We tend to think of patriotism as love of country that is linked to larger principles. When we think about America we think of virtue, of our freedom, democracy, a land of opportunity. We are not allegiant to the soil, but we are allegiant to these underlying principles – and this is a notion that goes way back.

    Professor Huiskamp points out that the roots of inquisitive patriotism run deep, citing Enlightenment philosopher Edmund Burke, who mused on the loyalty that citizens owed to the state in his work Reflections on the Revolution in France.

    "To make us love our country," Huiskamp said, quoting Burke, "our country ought to be lovely."

    Presumably, Burke would approve of Kaepernick's decision.