Mother of Pearl! W.C. Fields' great-granddaughter studying accounting, of all things, at Fairfield Celebrated art critic Robert Hughes replaces actress/playwright Anna Deavere Smith for February Open VISIONS Forum University College at Fairfield University adds two offerings to its array of business certificate programs Fairfield University student theatre troupe presents staged readings of four plays in New Works Festival Fairfield University students for peace work to raise awareness on campus and off St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble performs "Mendelssohn: The Boy Genius" at Quick Center Executive Director of U.S. Interreligious Committee for Peace in the Middle East to speak at Fairfield University Career Fair timely aid for students during tight job market A New York commuter tax probably won't drive business or out-of-state residents from New York City, a Fairfield University business expert said Fairfield University partners with Russian business university for faculty exchange program
"It was so weird," says Stacy Fields '01, recalling the first group meeting with her faculty advisor, Dr. Paul Caster, at last summer's Orientation. "He walked into the classroom and said 'Who's Stacy Fields?' And I thought to myself, 'Oh wow, did I do something wrong already?' "
Quite the opposite. For Dr. Caster, assistant professor of accounting, it was the final coincidence in a day filled with them - and the opportunity to meet the great-granddaughter of W.C. Fields, a 1930s comedian and film star Dr. Caster has admired since his high school and college days.
"As a student, I went to a lot of W.C. Fields' movies," says Dr. Caster. "Over the years, I've acquired many books about him and have most of his films on tape." Caster's memorabilia collection, which began with gifts from various girlfriends in college, includes not only books and movies, but a W.C. Fields candle, a scroll with a famous Fields quote: "Horse sense is what a horse has that keeps him from betting on people," and a W.C. Fields bank.
Fast forward to summer 1997 Orientation. Before meeting with his advisees, Dr. Caster attended a luncheon for parents. "After I sat down, this very friendly fellow took the seat next to me. His name tag said Bill Fields. I thought to myself, 'What the heck? I'll ask if he's related.'" As it turns out, Dr. Caster was sitting next to W.C. (William Claude) Fields' grandson.
"We practically spent the whole lunch talking about W.C. Fields," confesses Dr. Caster. "I kept apologizing to the other parents, but they were really interested, too." Among the topics they discussed was whether the epitaph attributed to W.C., a Philadelphia native, was true: "I'd rather be dead and buried here than alive and living in Philadelphia." Not so, according to grandson Bill. What W.C. really said, upon contemplating his tombstone epitaph, was "I'd rather be in Philadelphia."
When coaxed, Dr. Caster does a more-than-passable voice impersonation of his cinematic hero, one Bill Fields said was better than his own. "W.C. had an incredible wit, and a sense of humor based on innuendo," says Dr. Caster with a grin. "He even invented substitute expressions such as 'Godfrey Daniels' and 'Mother of Pearl' to get around the no swearing policy enforced by movie censors of the day."
For freshman Stacy Fields, being the great-granddaughter of a famous film star isn't accompanied by instant name recognition. "It's fun to have him as part of my heritage," she says, "but not a lot of kids my age know W.C. Fields or his movies." This was not the case, however, for her father. When Bill Fields began his career in the FBI after graduating from law school, the person who gave him his first assignment was more than aware of the connection. Not only did this supervisor know of W.C.'s Philadelphia roots, but also knew of the the actor's deep distrust of banks. Thus, when W.C.'s grandson, Bill, was assigned to the FBI's banking division in Philadelphia, the irony was lost neither on him or anyone else.
For Dr. Caster, both irony and coincidence were at work that Orientation day last June. After his lunch, as he hurried off to meet his advisees, he was eager to use this chance encounter as an ice-breaker for the group. To his amazement, listed on his roster was incoming freshman Stacy Fields. She plans, of all things, to major in accounting. "What," says accounting professor Caster, "do you suppose are the odds of that?!"
Posted on December 1, 1997
Distinguished art critic Robert Hughes will replace actress/playwright Anna Deavere Smith as guest speaker for Open VISIONS Forum, a lecture/discussion to take place Wednesday, Feb. 26 at 7:30 p.m. at Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. Smith cannot appear because of an unforeseen extension in her filming schedule for CBS' "Presidio Med."
Hughes, author/originator of "The Fatal Shore," "The Shock of the New" and several other highly regarded books and television series, has been TIME Magazine's art critic for more than 30 years. The only art critic to twice receive the coveted Frank Jewett Mather Award for art criticism, Hughes is one of the most esteemed and widely read writers in the art world.
"Hughes has changed and shaped what we think about art, culture and history, justly gaining himself an international reputation as one of the most original and distinguished minds writing today," wrote The Sunday Times of London in awarding him its 2000 Writer of the Year award.
Hughes will present "Art: Is This Really As Bad As It Gets?" for Open VISIONS Forum, a program of University College at Fairfield University. Philip Eliasoph, Ph.D., the program's founder and on-stage moderator, advised audience members to buckle their seatbelts for a spirited slide lecture.
"He has this uncanny ability to translate the most lofty aesthetic motives into an eye-opening, common sense straight-talk," said Eliasoph, professor of art history. "I often find myself learning about Picasso, Warhol or Christo and realizing I wish I could have said that with such cocksure eloquence."
Born in Sydney, Australia, in 1938, Hughes was educated by Jesuits at St. Ignatius College and studied art and architecture at Sydney University. It was in college that he began to make a name for himself with a group known as the Sydney Push. This band of artists, writers and intellectuals also included feminist firebrand Germaine Greer and journalist/ television critic Clive James. In 1962, Hughes abandoned his college work to write his first book, "The Art of Australia," published in 1965.
Hughes left Australia for Italy and then moved to London in the early 1960s, writing for The Spectator, The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Times and The Observer before he landed the job at TIME in 1970. With the magazine, Hughes has gained a reputation for stellar insights on an array of artists and the all-important ability to present them to the public in understandable, unpretentious terms. In the past decade alone, he has written about such varied masters as Titian, Matisse, Lichtenstein and Vermeer to the delight of art lovers and novices alike.
"He's knowledgeable, sensible, passionate, lucid, unpretentious. But the simplest reason TIME Magazine's Robert Hughes is possibly the best art critic writing today is that he's always interesting," according to the fine arts website Artcyclopedia. "Even when you disagree with him, it's impossible not to enjoy doing so."
Hughes has also turned his talents to several projects outside the magazine, including more than 16 books. "The Fatal Shore," his stunning, 688-page history of the brutal beginnings of Australia, was an international bestseller and made the New York Times Top 10 list of 1987. "The Shock of the New," his award-winning collection of essays on art and artists, is approachable enough for home reading, while finding a space on college course lists.
Hughes has also been influential in another medium - television. He was host and creator of the 1981 history series on modern art named for "The Shock of the New." An estimated 26 million public television viewers in the United States - and comparable numbers in Great Britain and Australia - saw the series.
His 1997 series on American art and architecture, "American Visions," received equal attention and acclaim. Written and narrated by Hughes, the series explores Americans and their surroundings, a source of rich artistic tradition. Launched first on the BBC, the series won the 1997 Richard Dimbleby Award for outstanding contribution to factual television from The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), the academy's highest honor.
Hughes also won Britain's 1987 W.H. Smith Award for the most significant contribution to English literature and the Duff Cooper Memorial Prize. In 1992, he received the Order of Australia, his country's principal civic honor, for services to Australian art and literature.
In 1999, while in Australia to film the documentary "Beyond the Fatal Shore," Hughes was involved in a head-on car collision and nearly died. He was acquitted of a dangerous driving charge, but continues to deal with legal issues in the case while going on with his work.
Hughes, who remains an Australian citizen, lives in New York City and Shelter Island, N.Y.
Tickets to Hughes' talk are $18, $15 for senior citizens. Tickets already purchased for Smith will be honored at the Hughes lecture. Those seeking a refund should contact the box office before Feb. 7 to allow others to purchase their tickets for Robert Hughes. For tickets, call the Quick Center box office at (203) 254-4010 or toll free at 1-877-ARTS-396. For more information, visit the website, www.quickcenter.com.
Posted on January 22, 2003
Vol. 35, No. 176
As layoffs mount, both the employed and the unemployed are seeking ways to enhance their skills and remain competitive in a tight job market. University College at Fairfield University is offering two new business certificate programs in management to help them do that.
The new Managing and Motivating Certificate is designed to help managers develop the basic business skills necessary to succeed in management and supervisory positions. The Leading and Listening Certificate helps students build essential people skills required to meet performance goals, improve morale and lead a team.
The United States economy lost 181,000 jobs last year, according to government estimates.
"In tough economic times, individuals often return to the classroom for new credentials and are attracted to short-term programs," said Edna Wilson, dean of University College at Fairfield University.
University College at Fairfield University, which oversees a myriad of educational programs for part-time college-goers, now offers nine business certificate programs, including programs in certified financial planning, human resources, computer graphics, clinical research and interior design.
The business certificate programs are designed to assist organizations, executives, small business owners and the community at large with specially designed learning solutions.
"Managers and would-be managers now see the importance in developing a broader understanding of how an organization functions, its financial procedures, how to communicate better with colleagues, how to supervise people and how to dramatically enhance time management and organizational skills," said Patricia Brunetti, director of noncredit programs for University College.
Completion of the Managing and Motivating Certificate requires completion of five courses: Finance for Non-Financial Managers, Writing for the Workplace, Designing a Business Plan, Supervising: Practices and Techniques, and Project Management.
The Leading and Listening Certificate requires completion of the first three courses in the Managing and Motivating Certificate, along with Art of Negotiation and Integrated Marketing Communications.
All courses for the new certificate programs are held on the Fairfield University campus. The price of each certificate is $1,995 or $450 per course. For more information or to register, contact Beatrix Brownfield at 203-254-4307. Media inquiries should be made to Dana Ambrosini, assistant director of media relations, at 203-254-4000, ext. 2726.
Posted on January 23, 2003
Vol. 35, No. 157
Theatre Fairfield, Fairfield University's student theatre company, will present its New Works Festival on Friday, Feb. 7 and Saturday, Feb. 8 at 8 p.m. Both performances will take place in the PepsiCo Theatre at Fairfield University.
The festival is a chance for students to present a staged reading of works they've written. Director Kent Brown, adjunct professor of English, will take the troupe through four plays: "Weaving" by Tina M. Minerva of New Hyde Park, N.Y.; "A Cow in the Muck" by Bob McGee of Marshfield, Mass.; "The Audition" by Paul John Desena of Cheshire, Conn.; and "37 Gallons of Milk" by Cait Davis of Woodbury, Conn.
Davis' play features a grown woman having an amusing dinner with her parents, while "A Cow in the Muck" considers two sons and their relationship with their father.
Tickets are $12, $5 for students. For tickets, call the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts box office at (203) 254-4010 or toll free at 1-877-ARTS-396. For more information, call (203) 254-4000, ext. 2274.
Posted on January 24, 2003
Vol. 35, No. 171
Concerned about the possibility of a war with Iraq, students at Fairfield University are planning weekly demonstrations on Tuesdays from 4 to 6 p.m. near the Community Theatre and Sherman Green on the Post Road in Fairfield. The one today is intended to coincide with the date of President Bush's State of the Union Address.
This is just the latest action among students who are growing increasingly concerned about a U.S. policy toward Iraq that seems determined to end in war. Some 50 Fairfield U. students attended the peace rally in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 18. The group also hosted a talk by Rev. Simon Harak, S.J., a Jesuit and tenured professor at Fairfield University before he left his teaching position so he could direct all his efforts toward ending sanctions against Iraq.
Senior Emmett Kearney said he has no doubt President Bush will continue a push for military aggression. He said he and other students will be working with Campus Ministry and Counseling Services at the university to increase awareness of the issues among students and others on campus.
To arrange an interview with Emmett Kearney or one of the other students involved, please call Nancy Habetz, director of media relations, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647. After hours, (203) 259-1884 or(203) 451-1725.
Posted on January 28, 2003
Vol. 35, No. 180
St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble, New York's preeminent chamber group, will perform an all-Mendelssohn concert on Friday, Feb. 28 at 8 p.m. at Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. The evening will feature three pieces by the "boy genius," including an octet considered one of the great works of chamber music.
St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble is the artistic core of the larger Orchestra of St. Luke's of New York City. The smaller group includes 21 virtuoso musicians who perform nationally and internationally with a repertoire ranging from the baroque to the contemporary.
The Feb. 28 concert begins with Mendelssohn's "Sinfonia No. 4 in C minor" and "Sinfonia No. 5 in B-flat major," both of which were written when Mendelssohn was a mere 13 years old. The pieces show the young master already well advanced in technique and imagination. His "Octet for Strings in E-flat major," composed when Mendelssohn was 16, follows, offering a look at how the composer grew in three years.
"After playing and listening to these pieces for over a year now, I am still amazed by them," said Krista Bennion Feeney, St. Luke's Director of Chamber Music. "In his outer movements, Mendelssohn can almost sound like a Baroque composer. He looks to the past and honors it, and at the same time, his own spirit shines through with incredible clarity. The Octet is generally regarded as perhaps the greatest musical creation by a child so young."
The members of the chamber ensemble who will perform at the Quick Center are: violinists Bennion Feeney, Naoko Tanaka and Mitsuru Tsubota; violists Maureen Gallagher and Louise Schulman; cellists Myron Lutzke and Daire FitzGerald; and bassist John Feeney.
The ensemble began in 1974, when St. Luke's President and Executive Director Marianne Lockwood and music entrepreneur Michael Feldman spearheaded a recital series at the Church of St. Luke's-in-the-Fields in New York City's Greenwich Village. Since its humble beginnings, the ensemble and the orchestra have branched out, now performing in small groups and larger orchestras, accompanying opera singers in recital and playing children's concerts. The ensemble doesn't have a permanent home, shuttling between concerts in Carnegie Hall and frequent recitals at the Brooklyn Museum of Art and the Caramoor Music Festival in Katonah, N.Y. It's also known for its free rush hour concerts at Temple Emanu-El, the world's largest Jewish house of worship.
The ensemble has gained a reputation for being able to tackle the masters and quirky newer programs with equal zeal. In its rigorous performance schedule, the group has made time for Bach and Brahams, as well as André Previn, Zhou Long and Philip Glass. The ensemble even joined Metallica in concert for a performance of the heavy metal band's greatest hits.
"St. Luke's serves up a diverse feast for the ears year-round," according to Chamber Music magazine.
The ensemble's more than 70 recordings include two Grammy winners, John Adams' "Nixon in China" and Samuel Barber's "Knoxville: Summer of 1915." Recent recordings include "Haydn: Morning, Noon and Evening," "Bel Canto" with soprano Renée Fleming and a soon-to-be-released double CD of Bach's Brandenberg concerti.
The members of St. Luke's are as passionate about education as they are about playing. Through the St. Luke's Arts Education Program, the artists go into schools as an ensemble and play, then show their instruments to the students and talk about their lives and how musicians work together. This year, the Quick Center created a residency with St. Luke's at Fairfield High School working with three of the school's orchestras. Feeney and Gallagher are also creating master classes to help students work on their technique.
"There is a communication while we're playing," Bennion Feeney told Chamber Music magazine. "When we're playing, we're often able to communicate what we don't say. That's the human stuff that goes into making music - and that's what's so important."
Tickets to the Quick Center concert are $30. For tickets, call the Quick Center box office at (203) 254-4010 or toll free at 1-877-ARTS-396. For more information, visit the website, www.quickcenter.com.
Posted on January 29, 2003
Vol. 35, No. 178
Ron Young, Executive Director of the U.S. Interreligious Committee for Peace in the Middle East, a national organization of 2,500 American Jews, Christians and Muslims, will be speaking at Fairfield University on Thursday, Feb. 6 from 12:30 to 2 p.m. in Room 200 of the Barone Campus Center. The talk on "The Israeli-Palestinian Crisis: New Perspectives," is free and open to the public.
The Interreligious Committee includes prominent leaders from the American Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities. These leaders work together for peace in the Middle East based on the deepest values in the three traditions. The Committee carries on programs of dialogue, education and advocacy across the United States in support of active U.S. policies to encourage comprehensive and lasting peace between Israel, the Palestinians and the Arab states.
The Founder and Director of the U.S. Interreligious Committee for Peace in the Middle East since 1987, Ron Young has arranged high level meetings with U.S. officials and with Israeli and Arab delegations to the Peace Talks and led Interreligious Leadership Trips to the Middle East. He and other leaders of the U.S. Interreligious Committee were invited by the White House to witness the signing of the historic Israel-PLO Declaration of Principles in 1993.
He has spoken and written widely on the Middle East and interfaith cooperation; taught a course on the Arab-Israeli-Palestinian conflict at Haverford College; arranged Interfaith Convocations and Prayer Services for Peace; and produced resources on religion in the search for peace.
Working with a nationwide network, Mr. Young provides action alerts to generate inter-religious support for U.S. efforts to help the parties halt the cycle of violence and restart peace negotiations. He is the author of "Missed Opportunities for Peace: U.S. Middle East Policy, 1981-86," a book praised by Jewish and Palestinian American leaders, and by prominent U.S. policy analysts.
From 1982 to 1985 he served as the Middle East Representative for American Friends Service Committee, visiting Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon to explore Arab and Israeli views about possibilities for peace and what the United States could do to help.
Mr. Young's talk is being sponsored by the Department of History. For more information, please contact Dr. David McFadden, chair of history, (203) 254-4000 ext. 2871. Media inquiries may be addressed to Dr. McFadden or Nancy Habetz, director of media relations, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647.
Posted on January 31, 2003
Vol. 35, No. 187
Michael Dalton, director of the Career Planning Center at Fairfield University, says he would understand if some students are becoming frustrated with the tight job market. To help students in their job search, the Center has several initiatives in place to connect students with potential employers.
On Thursday, Feb. 6 from noon to 3 p.m., the Center is sponsoring a Career Fair where students will have access to nearly 90 potential employers from Connecticut and New York. And while many represent specific fields, such as business and healthcare, a surprising number are interested in students from all majors.
Dennis Amrine, associate director of the Career Planning Center, said the fair is drawing better than 10 more employers from last year. "I am pleased and encouraged by the responses we had this year. We are almost back to the numbers we had when the economy was good, so I hope this means job prospects for this class are improving."
Mr. Dalton says that representatives from UBS Warburg, one of the participating employers, was on campus this week and were interested in students from all majors. "Here we had a major financial services firm," Dalton noted, "and they are more interested in skills and competences than any particular major. That's what I am finding with most firms."
Even among the 20 hospitals and healthcare agencies expected at the fair, there are positions in customer service and accounting, he noted, so he encourages students to be open to a range of possible employment opportunities.
In addition, about a half dozen non-profit agencies, including the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and the Peace Corps, will be on hand. This year, in addition to the 85 employers, graduate schools have been invited to attend.
While encouraging all majors to participate in the fair, the Career Planning Center advises students to prep for the fair by researching the firms they are interested in.
Many firms from the fair return to campus to conduct individual interviews. Students have access to the Career Center's recruiting schedule and can submit their resumes via the Internet. There is also provision for employers to post job openings on the university's website.
Some of the organizations who will be at the fair include: American Express, Bank of New York, Boehringer Engelheim, Deloitte & Touche, Hewitt Associates, General Electric, Ingersoll-Rand Company, Memorial Sloan-Kettering, Merrill Lynch, The Pepsi Bottling Group, Pitney Bowes, Purdue Pharma, Unilever and Yale New Haven Hospital.
Some 600 students are expected at the fair, including sophomores and juniors who want to get a head start on the process or seek out summer internships.
Posted on January 31, 2003
Vol. 35, No. 185
Unless it's draconian, the commuter tax that New York lawmakers are considering will not drive business from New York City, said Norman Solomon, Ph.D., dean of the Charles F. Dolan School of Business at Fairfield University. Dr. Solomon is available to comment on the impact the commuter tax might have on New York City business and Connecticut and New Jersey commuters.
"It's an irritant," Dr. Solomon said. "It doesn't foster good relations between New York City and the people in New Jersey and the people in Connecticut."
That said, it's unlikely that a commuter tax will prompt Manhattan-based firms to relocate, Dr. Solomon said. The tax would have to be incredibly high to generate enough employee resentment to actually cause businesses to consider moving. It's also unlikely to make residents in Connecticut and New Jersey reconsider working in Manhattan, Dr. Solomon said.
And while it may be uncomfortable, people who work in New York City shouldn't be surprised. The budget deficit is too big not to consider a variety of measures, Dr. Solomon said.
"It's politically difficult to raise your own constituents' real estate tax and then hold your commuters harmless," Dr. Solomon said.
Not to mention that Connecticut and New Jersey residents don't vote for New York politicians, he added.
Dr. Solomon earned a bachelor's degree from Cornell University in industrial and labor relations; and a master's degree and doctorate in industrial relations from the University of Wisconsin. He also holds a certificate in management and leadership in education from Harvard University.
To contact Dr. Solomon, please call the Charles F. Dolan School of Business at (203) 254-4000, ext. 4070, during weekdays or (203) 257-2681 on weeknights or the weekend.
Posted on January 31, 2003
Vol. 35, No. 186
Fairfield University has become the first university in the United States to partner with Russia's most prestigious university of economics, finance and business.
The St. Petersburg State University of Economics and Finance (FINEC) will look to Fairfield for help in updating its teaching methods, which currently rely heavily on lecture and theory.
The alliance is Fairfield University's second such partnership with a Russian university. Fairfield's eight-year partnership with Herzen University has focused on the humanities and social sciences, said David McFadden, Ph.D., chair of the history department and director of the Russian and East European Studies Program at Fairfield.
"This gives us another St. Petersburg partner that brings in economics and the business school," Dr. McFadden said, adding that FINEC is very well connected in Russia and thus an excellent school with which to form an alliance.
FINEC has deep roots in Russian history, having evolved from its role as the National Bank of Russia during the Tsarist period and the State Planning Agency's Economic and Banking Institute during the Soviet period. Its more famous alumni include several high-level aides to President Vladimir Putin; the head of Gasprom, Russia's gas giant; and Anatoly Chubais, who was an economic advisor to Boris Yeltsin.
"This relationship is all about partnership," said Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Fairfield University, home to the departments of economics and communication.
"We are partnering with FINEC colleagues for sharing, in both directions, cultural, pedagogical, and scholarly knowledge in which one partner is expert and through which the other can grow," Dr. Snyder said.
"Our partnership will bring about more opportunities for students and scholars of both universities, who will benefit from learning complementary cultures and ideas," Dr. Snyder added. "And we even have an internal partnership, between two Fairfield schools, that reflects Fairfield's ongoing, growing partnership with the larger world."
The partnership with Herzen has helped Fairfield's Russian and East European Studies Program gain support from the J. William Fulbright Scholars Program, the Gladys Kreible Delmas Foundation, the PepsiCo Foundation and many more.
The FINEC partnership will begin with a seminar, planned to take place in the fall, that will gather faculty members in finance, management, economics and communication from each university. The universities are also seeking funding for various other projects.
Both the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Business at Fairfield University have engaged in innovative curriculum development, working throughout the process to broaden the international expertise of their faculty. In Russia, by contrast, teaching methods at the university level have remained strictly lecture oriented, primarily because so much faculty training took place in the Soviet period when theory was the pedagogical emphasis. Seeking to incorporate new teaching methods and create links between academic theory and actual process, FINEC sought to develop a relationship with an AACSB-accredited business school in the United States, as well as a university with excellent economics and communication faculty.
Those interchanges will benefit Fairfield's professors as well, said Norman Solomon, Ph.D., dean of the Dolan School of Business.
"By working with FINEC faculty, DSB faculty will have a richer understanding and appreciation of both teaching business and 'doing business' in a nation moving from a planned economy to a fully market-oriented economy," Dr. Solomon said.
"Through this project, faculty will be given excellent comparison material for classroom discussion in Fairfield," Dr. Solomon said. "Also, when a planned conference of Fairfield and FINEC faculty takes place then, with the use of e-mail and web-based technologies, post-conference contact between FINEC and DSB faculty could be expanded to involve contact between students in courses being taught by those faculty in their respective home institutions."
Posted on February 3, 2003
Vol. 35, No. 175