LIBERAL ARTS EDUCATION?
When I was in school, we used the term “Liberal Arts Education,” which generally referred to a broad exposure to the humanities, history, literature, government, etc., to ensure a student could enter adulthood with an entry level understanding of how the world works—how people process and document the human condition.
The latest Wesleyan magazine had “Putting Liberal Education To Work” on its front cover. Your dropping the word “Arts” is puzzling to me. “Liberal Education” sounds as though Wesleyan has taken a position on the political spectrum. I would appreciate it very much if you could tell me what you mean when you say that Wesleyan offers students a “liberal education.”
■ JOHN FRISBIE ’67 ROSWELL, GA.
HOLLYWOOD SO WHITE
It was impressive to see in the “Special Issue: is is Why,” the photo of the many Wesleyan grads that have found success in the entertain- ment business (p. 22). Much of this is due to Professor Jeanine Basinger’s e orts and the development of the lm department, as well the creative writing center. I have always been amazed by how many writers in lm, TV, and novels have found their way to these profes- sions through Wesleyan: it speaks volumes on the type of students who attended the univer- sity and the experience they received there.
Despite taking pride in the fact that I was one of the individuals, I could not help but look at the photo presented and think of the still-recent #OscarsSoWhite controversy. ere did not seem to be any people of color represented, not that I blame Wesleyan; rather it’s a re ection of the times. It did, however, evoke sense of sadness within me. In the era I attended Wesleyan, it certainly would not have been unusual to see any photo of alumni or students that did not include people of color. Again a re ection of the times, but that was almost 50 years ago.
Of importance to me was being one of the students recruited by Wesleyan to diversify its student body. At the time Wesleyan was a
pioneer in their e ort and it was one they com- mitted to fully. It was not easy—for anybody— and there were many moments of conflict, yet there was growth. It was a period of history fraught with turbulence and passion as many tried to unravel racism and inequities. I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am to have been a part of that. I look at my children and think what strides we have made; my sons have only known voting for a black man for President.
ere has obviously been progress since I graduated Wesleyan in 1971 but in many ways that makes the contrast of #OscarsSoWhite and #BlackLivesMatter all the more sad. Just as the LA riots saddened me because I wanted to believe we had passed that state of a airs, it’s discouraging that some things that seem so basic and so de nitely tied to racism still exist to the point they do. It’s analogous to if a er all these years that have passed I was the same person I was during those years at Wesleyan never having developed one bit.
ere is still, obviously, much to be made and said about racism, and hopefully the events that have come to the forefront over the past year will encourage dialogue to accom- pany the rage and, in my case, the sorrow that still endures.
■ BILL BOULWARE ’71, MEMBER OF THE WRITER’S GUILD OF AMERICA SINCE 1978 SIMI, CALIF.
As a junior at Wesleyan, I found myself strug- gling: I had entered college expecting to attend medical school immediately a er graduation, and I pursued a double-major in biology and neuroscience. However, I became burnt out. I needed a break.
What, then, would comprise my next chapter? rough conversations with my dad, the pastors of my home church, and the University Protestant Chaplain Rev. Tracy Mehr-Muska, I realized that, while I’d always considered education my priority, this had begun to feel self indulgent. Early in my senior year, I found myself sitting in my bedroom at 7 Fountain submitting applications for vol- unteer programs.
So here I am, a year and a half later, writing to Wesleyan about serving as an educational volunteer in Mozambique with the Peace Corps.
A er an initial 10-week intensive language and cultural training program, I am now in my own house in the “bairro dos professorses.” I teach 11th grade biology—in Portuguese—at the Escola Secundária São José de Estaquinha. I’m also working on a number of community projects, including a basketball court for the children. Life as a Peace Corps volunteer presents entirely different challenges than those of an American student. Every day is an adventure.
My hope is that this letter will offer an alternative to anyone struggling with the mindset that they must immediately nd a path to a high paying job. While my Peace Corps service will be over in a few short years—a blink of an eye in terms of an entire career—this experience o ers me a lifetime of rewards: a new perspective and an appreciation for the larger world.
■ ANDREW MCCLOSKEY ’15 MAPUTO, MOZAMBIQUE
REMEMBERING SUSIE WASCH
I was saddened to learn of the death of Susie Wasch. She and her husband, William K. Wasch ’52, were gracious hosts when many of us were undergrads and he served as Alumni Director.
As just one example, I remember when a Wesleyan senior from Asia was to get married and needed a wedding venue. Of course, Mrs. Wasch co-hosted. She also served as bridal attendant, assisting the young woman in changing between the traditional white American wedding gown and her Asian wedding gown.
Bill Wasch and I reminisced about that day a few years ago, when Bill and Susie were hosting a cookout at Wesleyan’s Wasch Center for Retired Faculty.
Our condolences to Mr. Wasch, their children, and grandchildren.
■ GORDON FAIN ’70 HAMDEN, CONN