Wesleyan University

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is an old revision of this page, as edited by (talk) at 07:19, 4 May 2005 (→‎Science). The present address (URL) is a permanent link to this revision, which may differ significantly from the current revision.

This article concerns Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut; there is also a Wesleyan University in the Philippines and a number of other colleges and universities whose names include Wesleyan.

Template:Infobox American Universities Wesleyan University founded in 1831, is a private, liberal arts university in Middletown, Connecticut. Founded by Methodist leaders and residents of Middletown, Wesleyan was the first university to be named after John Wesley, the founder of Methodism and it shares a common Methodist heritage with about twenty other U.S. colleges and universities also named after Wesley.

With a class size of slightly over 700, Wesleyan accepts just 28% (class of 2008) of those who apply, making it one of the most selective colleges in the US (giving it a Princeton Review Admissions Selectivity Rating of 97 on a scale from 60 to 99). It was ranked 9th in the top Liberal Arts Colleges in the country by the US News. Wesleyan is well known for the diversity of its student population with students from 49 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and 45 foreign countries. 22% of the class of 2004 identified themselves as students of color.

Wesleyan is also famous for its activism, especially for its feminist and gay-rights organizations, and as such it was the main inspiration for the 1994 movie PCU, which satirized an exaggeratedly "Politically Correct University."


Wesleyan was founded as an all-male Methodist college in 1831. In 1872 it became one of the first universities to attempt a coeducational environment, allowing a small number of female students to attend the university, a venture known as the "Wesleyan Experiment". Many of Wesleyan's male alumni believed that coeducation lowered Wesleyan's standings compared to its academic peers, so from 1912 to 1970, Wesleyan returned to being an all-male university. By the time the university began reintegrating women in 1970, many female scholars had already found their place at the all-female Connecticut College in nearby New London, founded by Wesleyan alumni in 1911.

Wesleyan became fully independent of the Methodist Church in 1937, after ties to the church waned throughout the early 20th century.


Wesleyan offers Bachelor of Arts, the Master of Arts and the Ph.D. Wesleyan offers over 900 courses in 39 departments and 44 major fields of study. No minor specialisms are offered. The university is also highly supportive of interdisciplinary programs and custom-made majors, known as University Majors. Almost all classes at Wesleyan are small, with the most frequent class size being between 11 and 19 students.

Wesleyan's graduate programs are mostly limited to the sciences and mathematics, although they also offer graduate programs in Music and Ethnomusicology and in Psychology.

Departments and majors

The following is a list of departments as of 2004. Except as noted, each department also has a single corresponding major (although the official names of majors do not include the word "program" found in some department names).

  • African American Studies
  • American Studies Program
  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology Program
  • Art and Art History
    • Art History
    • Art Studio
  • Asian Languages and Literatures
    • (No separate major, see East Asian Studies)
  • Astronomy
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Center for the Humanities
    • (No corresponding major)
  • Classical Studies
    • Classics
    • Classical Civilization
  • College of Letters
  • College of Social Studies
  • Dance
  • Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • East Asian Studies Program
  • Economics
    • Economics
    • Mathematics-Economics
  • English
  • Film Studies
  • German Studies
  • Government
  • History
  • Latin American Studies Program
  • Less Commonly Taught Languages
    • (No corresponding major)
  • Mathematics
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science
    • Mathematics-Economics
  • Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
  • Medieval Studies Program
  • Music
  • Neuroscience and Behavior
  • Philosophy
  • Physical Education
    • (No corresponding major)
  • Physics
  • Psychology
  • Religion
  • Romance Languages and Literatures
    • French Studies
    • Italian Studies
    • Romance Studies
    • Spanish Literature
  • Russian and East European Studies Program
  • Russian Languages and Literatures
    • Russian
  • Science in Society Program
  • Sociology
  • Theater
  • Women's Studies Program

Certificate programs

Wesleyan's certificate programs are "designed to bring coherence to programs of study that include courses from many departments and programs." They are:

  • Certificate in Environmental Studies
  • Certificate in Informatics and Modeling
  • Certificate in International Relations
  • Certificate in Jewish and Israel Studies

Recent Activism

2004 has seen a resurgence in activism at Wesleyan, after several years of decline. In December, over 250 students took over South College, the building housing President Bennet's office, to protest the lack of student voices in administrative decision making. The building occupation was followed by a forum the next day, in which President Bennet promised to respond to student demands in January 2005. [1]

Another current controversy as of December 2004 is the status of the campus radio station, WESU, founded in 1939 as the second college radio station in the United States (KUOA at John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Arkansas was the first, in 1936). [2], [3] Since 1988, WESU's format has been entirely free-form, with DJs having complete freedom to program what they will. The university is now considering some sort of affiliation with National Public Radio, which would require a drastic change in format. [4], [5]

Notable Alumni

Notable alumni of Wesleyan University include:




  • Joshua Boger 1973 - President and CEO, Vertex Pharmaceuticals
  • Majora Carter 1988 - Founder and executive director, Sustainable South Bronx
  • Richard Cavanagh 1968 - President and CEO, The Conference Board of New York
  • Alan Dachs 1970 - President, The Fremont Group (investment arm of Bechtel Corp.); chairman of Wesleyan's board of trustees
  • Ronald Daniel 1952 - Former Managing Partner, McKinsey & Company.
  • Charles Exley, Jr. 1951 - Former chairman and CEO, NCR Corporation
  • Houghton Freeman 1943 - Former Vice Chairman, AIG; Founder of AIU.
  • Charles James 1976 - Vice president and general counsel, ChevronTexaco Corp.
  • Herb Kelleher 1953 - Founder, chairman, and former president and CEO, Southwest Airlines
  • Matt Kelley 1902 - Founder, president and CEO, The Mavin Foundation
  • Daphne Kwok 1984 - Executive director of the Asian Pacific Institute for Congressional Studies
  • Eliza Leighton 1995 - Cofounder, Stand for Children
  • John Lipsky 1968 - Chief economist and managing director, JP Morgan Chase
  • Robert Patricelli 1961 - President and CEO, Women's Health, USA
  • Anthony Richter 1984 - director of Central Asia and Middle East Initiatives of the Open Society Institute
  • Tom Rogers 1976 - Chairman and CEO, Primedia
  • Jonathan Schwartz 1987 - President and COO, Sun Microsystems
  • David Skaggs 1964 - Executive director, Aspen Institute
  • Laura Walker 1979 - President and CEO, WNYC
  • Jeff Weitzen 1978 - Former president and CEO, Gateway 2000
  • John Woodhouse 1953 - Senior chairman, Sysco Corp.
  • Walter Wriston 1941 - Retired chairman, Citicorp
  • Strauss Zelnick 1979 - Founder and president, ZelnickMedia
  • Ezra Zilkha 1947 - President, Zilkha and Sons



  • Russell Hardin 1964 - Attorney, Hardin, Beers, Hagstette & Davidson, and lead Houston attorney for Arthur Andersen's defense against lawsuits brought by Enron shareholders
  • Hon. Terry Hatter 1954 - Federal judge, Los Angeles
  • Hon. Anthony Scirica 1962 - Circuit judge, United States Court of Appeals, Third District (Philadelphia)
  • Theodore Shaw 1976 - Associate director-counsel, NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund
  • Hon. Stephen Trott 1962 - Federal Appellate Court judge, 9th Circuit



  • Dr. Herbert Benson 1957 - Founding president of the Mind/Body Medical Institute; author of The Relaxation Response
  • Dr. Laman Gray, Jr. 1963 - Artificial heart surgeon
  • Dr. Jay Levy 1960 - AIDS researcher and educator; professor, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco
  • Emelie Marcus 1982 - Editor of the scientific journal Cell.




Kenneth G. Carpenter 1976, MA 1977, Project Scientist for Hubble Space Telescope Operations [6] Kerem Alper 2007, MA 2007, Project researcher, Astronomer, Economist, Debutante [7]


External links