Last week was a busy one as new and returning students moved into the residence halls, offices across campus helped with Orientation proceedings, and classes began for the 2013-14 academic year. Thursday evening was especially exciting as the campus community gathered for the Welcome Back BBQ and a dessert reception for President Tom de Witt, and the traditional Convocation ceremony officially opened the fall semester–followed of course by the Passing of the Flame in front of Macmillan Hall and the senior class jumping into the lake!

Here are some of the photos we captured for the evening:

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Amanda Kelly - GreenhouseWe’re very grateful to Amanda Kelly ’12 for her hard work and determination in fixing up the Morgan Greenhouse! In spite of several hurdles, Amanda was able to come to campus on a beautiful day today and ceremonially install the last few panes of glass needed for the greenhouse.

Amanda proposed a sustainable redesign of the formerly-neglected greenhouse for her environmental studies senior thesis project, examining possibilities including rainwater collection and potential practical uses for the structure. Since graduating, she has worked to keep the project moving by raising funds, working with local glass-installers, and even spending her own time painting the frame. There is still some work to do before the greenhouse will be fully functional, but today marks a visible, exciting sign of progress in the project. Thank you to Amanda, Director of Facilities Brian Brown, Wells’ office of advancement, and everyone else involved!

Amanda Kelly - Greenhouse


A Wells education can lead a graduate in many directions. A degree not only gives you the knowledge to be successful in life but also gives you the confidence to go out into the world and make a difference for yourself and others. In today’s global society it is critical to have both the skills and the personality characteristics to contribute to the world.

Not surprising Wells College may count many alumnae and alumni in our community who have done just that. One woman of whom we are very proud is Ann Williams Jennett a member of the class of 1958. She is the founder of Youth Job Center in Evanston, Illinois. This organization assists members of the community in their job preparation and search. Ann began her journey in 1983 with Youth Job Center when she helped 20 young people find jobs with little to no experience. She has had a profound impact on the lives of over 20,000 youths in her area but helping them to advance their lives through employment related services.
Ann Williams Jennett came to Wells College with the class of 1958. She transferred before her senior year to Mills College in Oakland, California. She has always referred to Wells as her alma mater.

Learn more about the Youth Job Center below:

Paula Olewiler Gelbach ’60 wrote a children’s storybook published by Xlibris Corp., It’s OK!! Everybody’s Different and was looking for an illustrator. Viki Graf Turner ’60 suggested Paula contact another of her friends, artist Kathleen K Potts ‘62 Wilson College.  Peggy Marsteller Shelly ’60 also joined the group.  The pictures represent one of the book signing days in Topton, PA a year later.  Before this day, Viki was the only one who had met, in person, all three, Paula, Kathleen and Peggy, and yet was instrumental in the birth of a new children’s book. In addition to the book Paula has written a study guide for the book which is available as a free download at the following website: http://www.uccfiles.com/ucc_resources/IT’S-OK-ACTIVITY-BOOK.pdf

Paula and Kathy with their book

01  Paula Viki Kathy 6-6-2013

Paula, Viki and Kathy

In a warm and crowded Phipps Auditorium on Saturday, June 1, 2013, Wells alumni and guests were amazed by the words of Florence Dowdell Fasanelli ’54. It was clear why the Wells College Association for Alumnae and Alumni Award Committee had chosen her as the 2013 recipient for the WCA Award. You will find her inspiring words (with permission) below:


“Good morning to you all.

I want to thank those who invited me to be here: President Ryerson and your staff, Alumnae/Alumni President Minarik and your committee, and Laura Sanders and her Alumnae/Alumni office staff.

I am honored to stand here before you, and honored to remember the lives of three Wells classmates whose encouragement has lasted me to this day:

Jane Wilson (1932-1956), Eleanor Marsh Hillers (1932-2012), and Christine Patton Chapman (1933-2009) are no longer with us.

I stand before you because of what I learned at Wells some 60 years ago. When I first arrived in Aurora, I was a smart but very naïve 17 year old, raised in rural communities and knowing very little about inequalities or civil rights and the role that access to education can play in addressing injustices.

The father of one of my high school classmates, who was the headmaster of a boys’ boarding school, had told me that if I went to Wells and majored in mathematics I would be in demand my whole life. If I could see Sam Bartlett[1] today, I would thank him for his amazingly accurate foresight.

I followed his advice, and learned not only where a Wells education in mathematics would lead me, but also what a huge role that that education would play for me during my career in addressing injustice.

What I want to tell you is that Wells opened up my entire world.[2]

I graduated in 1954, and as it was 1954, I married right after graduation. I moved with my husband[3], who was a clergyman, to Fort Worth, Texas. At that time marriage was the great escape.

My husband got a job at Texas Christian University (TCU). I can tell you that after a few months of being a clergyman’s wife, I was bored out of my mind. So I signed up for a graduate course at TCU in Projective Geometry.[4] An hour later I had an offer to teach there!

It so happened that a Professor [5] recently retired from Yale, had just joined the faculty at TCU for a year. He had conducted honors examinations at Wells ten years before, and had high regard for the mathematics department at Wells. The faculty here at that time included Professors Evelyn Carroll Rusk (1898-1964) and Temple Hollcroft (1889-1967)[6] both of whom were masterful, encouraging teachers. Rusk, herself a 1920 Wells alumna, was among the first 139 pioneering women[7] to earn a PhD in mathematics at a time when less than 6% of such degrees in the US went to women. Although he had not met me, the Yale professor reported that with a math degree from Wells, I could certainly teach college students.

Four years later, in 1958, we moved 30 miles east to Dallas when my husband began working at Southern Methodist University (SMU). The following year, the same thing happened: I got a surprise call from the SMU math department asking me to teach. The chair at TCU had secretly passed on my credentials. I taught at SMU for ten years until I moved to Washington, DC.

In 1968 I arrived for an interview at Sidwell Friends School, a highly regarded private school in the District of Columbia. And yes, it happened again. I discovered a Wells classmate,[8] Christine Patton Chapman, already teaching English at Sidwell and so the job was instantly mine. For the third time in my life I got a job before I actually had an interview because I had majored in math at Wells.

I taught at Sidwell for 18 years, and then took a year off to write history of mathematics which is my academic field. After that year I was considering a return to teaching when I was asked to interview to be a visiting scientist at the National Science Foundation (NSF). The man at NSF who interviewed me and who became my boss was Charlie Puglia, who had been Chair of the Biology Department here at Wells until 1985. I swear to you that I am not making this up! As I moved around the country I kept getting jobs because I had majored in math at Wells College.

But I feel that my Wells education helped me to discover more than the world of mathematical inequalities. While teaching at Sidwell Friends I found out about the inequalities of life, and how crucial access to a good education was. In my early years there, African American students were encouraged to enroll and become a growing part of the student body. Yet the school had not hired any Black faculty. Once I noticed this injustice, which to its credit Sidwell corrected shortly thereafter, I began to see other kinds of inequalities.

I realized that as a woman teacher, I was paid half what male teachers made. Sidwell also eventually corrected this injustice, which society as a whole has yet to equalize. The AAUW reports that women now earn 77 cents for each dollar a man earns for the same job.[9] Even in 2013, it is still too common for men in my professional community to receive credit for work performed by women.

Sidwell Friends provided training for students before they joined protest marches. By the 1980s, I was joining the marches myself. And not only myself. One of my daughter’s favorite stories concerns a conversation we had about civil disobedience when she was 8 years old. I was planning to join in a non-violent arrest movement to protest apartheid in front of the South African Embassy. She argued with me not to do it because my husband was away at the time. She didn’t oppose civil unrest; she just wanted to make sure one parent would be at home at all times. Well, I didn’t get arrested, and, yes, today, my daughter is a lawyer! [10]

I learned from the Quakers that there is some of the truth is in all of us, but not all of the truth in any one of us.  With that concept in my mind  when I heard Angela Davis, the political activist, speak – shattering notions of class and the desexualization of housework or household chores – my life was changed forever as a new perspective was put in place.

My new perspective about gender, racial, and class equality became the focal point of my work in mathematics education. During my three years at NSF, I made sure that these issues were recognized in the projects my division funded. I asked the directors proposing projects for teacher: How was the staff going to find female teachers? I asked about student projects: How were the directors going to find underrepresented minority students to participate?

I continued to combine standards for rigorous mathematics education with equality at the Mathematical Association of America (MAA). Again, my name had been passed from NSF to the MAA when a new program mandated by its membership had begun to look at the relations between minorities and mathematics. This program was SUMMA, Strengthening Underrepresented Minority Mathematics Achievement. With generous private and federal grants, which included your taxpayers’ money, we funded programs encouraging mathematicians to create out of school programs for women and minorities so they could experience college campus life. And so they could learn that mathematics was not just what you learn in school but can solve all kinds of problems and assist in exploring ideas about science, society, democracy, music and art.

But it didn’t stop there. In 2012, through my most recent work with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), we brought high-ability pre-college minority students to Washington to be trained to compete in international mathematics Olympiads. One competition was the Mexican Mathematics Olympiad where two of our Hispanic students earned medals – one was silver and one bronze. Here in his own words is the impact that this effort had on one student:

I guess planning on going to Washington to the AAAS program, once I saw that community; it kinda filled a little hole in my life. I guess, not meeting other Hispanics who did math. I guess that was the ultimate realization that not only is there a math community; there is a math community for Hispanics. That filled the hole right there.[11]

The impact of these projects is clear, but I can tell you that there are not enough projects like these to fill the holes in our educational system.

And since I am now 80, I want to speak to you about what we can for the next TWENTY years to fill these holes.

First, we must acknowledge the hard truth of our broken promise. We have BROKEN our promise of a quality education for every child.

Now, let’s be honest, our community is even aware that it is breaking its promise, and yet is seemingly unwilling to do anything about it. 1954 was the year of Brown vs. Board of Education and the year of my graduation from Wells College. It was a year that segregation was to have been abolished in education, but schools have again become segregated. Today, the most destructive force to quality education is the economic divide. In Washington, DC, where I live, 49% of third grade public school children cannot read at a basic level of comprehension. A quick survey shows that these children are all in schools that provide free meals indicating the parents are at or below the poverty level. We must acknowledge that limited income CANNOT mean poor education. Every child, regardless of his or her parent’s income, should have a quality education. Quality education is a Constitutional right. Second, once we have acknowledged that we have created this stratified educational system through our own form of class warfare, we must consider how to fix the system. I suggest we look to the work of iconic civil rights leader and creative mathematics educator Bob Moses.[12] Moses posits that it is our nation’s Constitution, which demands equal protection for all of us; that tells us our current system is unlawful. Working for access to voting in the 1960s in Mississippi, Moses aroused citizens to demand their civil rights. Recognizing that algebra is the gate keeper to a college education and thus for citizens to function fully in our democracy, algebra, too, is a civil right. Elementary school children need to be prepared to study algebra successfully. For this Moses created the Algebra Project.

There are many things all of us can do to change this unjust educational system and with a Wells education, we have the tools to make this change. Some of you in this room may be teachers or may become teachers to provide a quality education. I hope and dream that you do and that when you do, you make it your business to provide quality education for everyone you teach, regardless of social or any other group.

All of us can look around our communities, bear witness to education inequality, and advocate through legislative and other means for real change. We can demand higher salaries for our teachers to be on a par with other professionals. We can push universities to provide free tuition to students who commit to teaching in low-income areas. At the very least, however, we cannot sit back and do nothing.

THIS is just the beginning.”

[1] His daughter, Mary Bartlett, graduated from Wells in 1946. Sam Bartlett founded the South Kent School.

[2] See Wells Express, February 1989 for a full professional biography.

[3] The Reverend John Messinger (1925-1998) was my first husband.

[4] A subject I had already studied at Wells with Temple Hollcroft in 1953.

[5] Joshua Irving Tracey (1883- 1963).

[6] Weinmeister, Johann Phillip, Die Herzlinie für die Schule Bearbeitet, Leipzig, 1884. This article on the cardiod was a gift from Dr. Hollcroft on Valentine’s Day 1954.

[7] In 1930 there were 9 women who received PhDs!

[8] The class of 1954 had 100 women in 1950 and 54 graduates.

[9] The simple truth about the Gender Pay Gap. Washington: AAUW 2013 edition.

[10] Homeless Persons Representation Project (HPRP). Baltimore. MD.

[11] Anonymous interview conducted by project evaluator.

[12] Liu, Goodwin, “Education, Equality, and National Citizenship,” 116 Yale Law Journal, (330) 2006.

Moses, Robert and Charles E. Cobb, Jr., Math Literacy and Civil Rights, Boston, Beacon, 2001.

Perry, Theresa, and Robert P. Moses, Joan T. Wynne, Ernesto Cortés Jr. Lisa Delpit, eds. Quality Education as a Constitutional Right; Boston, Beacon Press, 2010.

1-IMG_1195Last Wednesday, Wells students had the unique opportunity to spend a day in the law profession in the city of Rochester, New York. The day was made possible thru the Office of Experiential Learning and Career Services’ new program called “In the Day of a Life of an Alum.” The program focuses on a career area each semester and connects Wells students and alums in the industry for a day. Not only does this provide students with great networking experience, future internship and mentor possibilities, but it also allows students to shadow professionals in the field. Essentially each student gets a taste of a career they’re interested in and are able to get advice from professionals who have real experience.

1-IMG_1066A mix of eight Wells students participated- (Laura Allard ’16, Jack Bjorkander ’16, Victoria Candida ’16, Theresa Hernandez ’14, Emily Middlebrook ’14, Pascale Nelson ’13, Rachel Partington ’13 and Brittany Paul ’16) with majors as diverse as English and philosophy. In the morning, students observed court cases first-hand and sat-in-on felony, misdemeanor and drug arraignments, as well as an attempted murder case. The judge in each courtroom greeted Wells students and explained the different jobs of the court and how their courtroom differed from the next.

After leaving th1-IMG_1007e Monroe County Hall of Justice Buildings, students had lunch and networked with local Wells alums who work in the law field. Students were joined by Wells alumnae, Rene. Forgensi Minarik ’80, Valerie Milonas ’88, Kristen Phillips ’95, Kathi Smith ’83 and Deborah McLean ’74. Students also met with Kaplan Test-Prep Representative Kristen Miller to get information on the LSAT and the admission process for law school.

1-IMG_1216A special thanks to Pamela Edgerton Ferguson ’69 for reserving the lunch in the Trustees Dining Room at the University of Rochester. Eric Vaughn would also like to thank the Wells alumni who attended and all the alumni who continue to support the Office of Experiential Learning and Career Services.

Hello Wellsians!

I thought I’d take this Tuesday morning to celebrate how amazing each and every one of you is! As many of you know, due to health reasons, Janet Mapstone recently left the Wells community to take care of herself and focus on her health. It was very sad to see her leave, and I especially, along with her friends and coworkers, miss her presence already. Janet has dedicated herself to the College for 37 years. In today’s world, that type of dedication is admirable and so rare. Janet truly loved the College and enjoyed helping the College thru the positive and challenging changes it has faced throughout her near half a century of work here. She has held many positions, but her most prominent, and the one I believed she devoted most of her time to, was ClassNotes, which more recently has turned into the alum newsletter we all know as WellsNotes. Janet was very successful in managing and editing this publication, and she formed many friendships with the class secretaries, alums who shared their story, and staff that helped her produce the publication.

Since Janet’s chapter at Wells has come to a close, I was asked to help Director of Alumnae and Alumni Relations Laura Sanders edit ClassNotes. With editing, this meant I would have to read through all of your updates for this May’s issue; yes, 81 pages worth! I give Janet major props for doing this! It takes a certain eye to accomplish such a task, and I have to say, I feel truly honored to have had the opportunity to read every one of your updates submitted for this issue. I enjoy your wit, and I’m amazed at all the wonderful careers each of you hold or are pursuing—some of you are going back to school and changing your career path after being in one industry for a long time: what courage you Wells women have! I’m amazed at how well you keep in touch with your classmates, and how you’re there to support each other through difficult and trying times. And moreover, I’m astounded that many of you still recount your days at Wells with profound respect and love for all that Wells has done for you, and that many of you still attend Reunion and will continue to make the venture to Aurora for years to come. You talk of reclaiming spaces on campus just like you did in the “party” days, of professors whose lectures still influence you today, and of making new memories at your next Reunion.

Simply put, I’m amazed by Wells women. On behalf of Janet and me, I would like to thank you for sharing your life and for enduring the Wells connection! We feel completely honored that you continually share your lives with us and your thankfulness for the Wells education. The education we know today as—The Education of an Extraordinary Life.

Have a great week!

~ Clarissa (Clare) Scott

Here’s a message that President Lisa Marsh Ryerson sent to the community yesterday:

I am sad to share that former Wells president John Delane Wilson died on Saturday, March 2nd.

Wells’ 12th president, he served from 1969 to 1975. During President Wilson’s tenure, a time of political and economic turmoil, Wells participated in nationwide protests, teach-ins, National Peace Week and the first celebration of Earth Day. Under President Wilson’s leadership several buildings were constructed and renovated, including Campbell, Barler and Cleveland Halls, new programs were developed, the curriculum was revised and the first Collegiate Trustees were named. The John D. Wilson Presidential Professorship and the Wilson-Poole athletic award memorialize his service to Wells.

A national leader in higher education, after leaving Wells, President Wilson went on to serve as President of Washington and Lee University. President Wilson is survived by his wife, Anne Yeomans Wilson; their four children and nine grandchildren; two sisters; and two brothers. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 16, at 3 p.m. in Lee Chapel, on the Washington and Lee campus. The Wells College bells will be rung in President Wilson’s memory on Friday.

Warm regards,

before-summers-endCongratulations to Marlene Lauster Young ’99, who recently published a children’s book titled “Before Summer’s End.” In the book, Marlene recalls a time when being young meant finding joy in simple things, portraying the joys of a summer day filled with carefree exploration and fun. Whimsical illustrations by Irene Olds accompany the story, which is partially based on memories from Marlene’s own childhood. The book is written for primary and intermediate students and is available for purchase directly from Marlene or through distributors Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Marlene is currently teaching at North Street School in Geneva, N.Y.; her book was mentioned in the school district’s winter newsletter and blog. In the entry, she credits a children’s literature course taken at Wells with helping inspire her to write and mentions working on her next book. We’re looking forward to more details!

Buffalo Alumnae Lunch

Buffalo Lunch 2-15-13

Left to right: Katie Vogt Schneider ’76, Jane Borsch Robbins ’61, Cydney Kelly ’89, Annie Coburn-Kane ’89, Carin Wyckoff Phillips ’55, Lyle Geary Toohey ’68, Megan Toohey ’90 (not pictured Barb Shields Drenning ’63)

The Saturn Club, founded in 1867 in the historic Delaware District of Buffalo, NY, was the setting for an intimate luncheon of eight Wells alumnae on Friday, February 15, 2013. The comfortable event, held in the Club’s elegant library, was hosted by Carin Wyckoff Phillips ’55 and staffed by Wells College’s Director of Leadership and Planned Giving, Hal Burrall.

The menu featured New England clam chowder, Caesar salad topped with a choice of shrimp, salmon, or chicken, and a hot fudge sundae finisher. Guests were given a packet of Wells information and current marketing materials for review and/or to pass on to a prospective student. A matching notebook and pen combination made of 100% recycled materials with the classic Wells ‘W’ logo was given to all as a token gift in appreciation for their ongoing support of the College’s fundraising efforts.

Topics of discussion included the search strategy process for both the interim president and the next president to succeed Lisa Marsh Ryerson ’81, the recruitment and retention of students, the findings of the College’s consultant on admissions and successful implementation of those recommendations, tuition costs, the current fiscal year budget, and the Inns of Aurora product offerings and plans for expansion. Alumnae in attendance also took advantage of the opportunity to forge new connections within the Buffalo region Wells network and discussed ways in which they can create more interest in Wells for prospective students in local area of each woman.

“It was a lovely group of Wells women,” remarked hostess Carin Wyckoff Phillips ’55.  “Everyone seemed to be in a jovial mood and happy to hear about the good things happening at Wells.”