A Wheaton reception for Bay Area-California alumnae/i was held on November 27, hosted by Deborah Alton Matthews ’78. More than 35 alumnae/i and their guests attended this event featuring Professor Meg Kirkpatrick, coordinator of the neuroscience program. President Ronald Crutcher provided an update about the campaign and the college, and Jane Rowe Mraz ’57 shared greetings from the Alumnae/i Board Association. Guests included President Emerita Dale Rogers Marshall, Ann Stowe ’92, Lucas Mayer ’11, Julie Lydon ’94, Catherine Malone Habas ’93, and Susan “Susie” Keene Stitt ’58 (former trustee) and daughter Elisabeth Stitt ’88.
Ken Kristensen ’92 describes himself as a lifelong comic book fan. He has a collection of around 15,000 comic books to prove it. He has just added another four-volume set to his collection—this one written by him. He is the co-creator of Todd, the Ugliest Kid on Earth. Image Comics (publisher of The Walking Dead) released the first volume of the graphic novel in January, which sold out at the distributor level the first week and was then reprinted. It is described as “a collision of comedy, sex and violence” that follows “the misadventures of America’s most dysfunctional family.” In a December interview with GeektheNews.com, the award-winning writer was asked whether he sees himself in the title character, Todd. He responded: “Everyone who has ever felt like an outsider will see themselves in Todd. One of the fascinating things about working with a character who you never see without a bag over his head is that you imagine that when and if that bag comes off, he could be any of us. I think that helps connect the audience with the character. Unconsciously you say to yourself, ‘When that bag comes off, will the face I see be my own?’” Kristensen majored in creative writing and created his own independent study in documentary film while at Wheaton. In addition to being a graphic novelist, he is also a screenwriter and a TV director-producer. He recently sold his show “Prison Bus” to A&E. In 2008, he won one of the coveted Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences—the folks who give out the Oscars. The Academy grants fellowships to only five or six screenwriters each year. Kristensen was chosen over 5,000 screenwriters who entered the competition. He is currently writing a feature film for producers Jeff Judah and Gabe Sachs (Diary of a Wimpy Kid).
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Laura Hobbins Tschop ’07 (pictured on the left) currently teaches second grade at KIPP Philadelphia Elementary Academy in Philadelphia. She says that a big trend (especially in urban education) is naming classrooms after the classroom teacher’s alma mater. So her classroom is the Wheaton College Room. They also have a Wheaton cheer, a team mascot, and everything that goes home says “Wheaton.” “There is a lot of Wheaton pride going on,” Laura says. On top of all this, Laura has connected with another alum, Carol Barnet Fuchs ’62—right in her classroom. “Early in the year, a woman began volunteering in our classroom. The students knew her well, as she has been volunteering at the school for three years now. She always has a smile and is willing to do anything you ask of her. The kids love working with her. She casually asked if the Wheaton I went to was the Wheaton in Massachusetts. I was excited just that she knew there was one in Massachusetts. She then told me that she went there, too. Who would have thought two Wheaties would be connected at a small charter school in Philadelphia? I’m so grateful for her weekly help. Her compassion and spirit embodies why I’m so proud to be a Wheaton alum.”
Gordon Parks is recognized as one of the most important African American photographers of the 20th century and is noted for combining artistic style with commentary on the human condition. Peter W. Kunhardt Jr. ’05, who majored in art history at Wheaton, had the pleasure of knowing Gordon Parks and is now the executive director of the Gordon Parks Foundation, a division of the Meserve-Kunhardt Foundation. Kunhardt has spent the past two years serving as co-editor with Paul Roth of the Corcoran Gallery of Art to produce Gordon Parks: Collected Works, published by Steidl in Gottingen, Germany. A New York Times article about the work of Parks referred to the collection, saying that it “reveals the depth of his talent and his mastery of the photo essay form.” The five-volume collection features five decades of Parks’s photography (many of the images have never been published before), as well as essays by Henry Louis Gates Jr. Deborah Willis, Maurice Berger and others. The New York Times article also made note of Kunhardt’s forward in volume I and included his words in the story. Kunhardt also wrote an article for the Huffington Post about his experiences with the photographer: “Gordon Parks was a friend to my family for more than forty years. He was a colleague of my grandfather, Phil Kunhardt, at LIFE Magazine, and a glowing presence in my home as a child. I remember his jokes, his pipe, his stylish clothes—and the way he could relate to anyone, young and old. His genius, I think, was based on a respect and trust he brought to the people and issues that he photographed. He spent much time with his subjects, sometimes even living with them—often in the harshest conditions.”
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