Our second (and maybe final) presidential interview is with William Chace, president from 1988 to 1994.
William Chace was only president of Wesleyan for six years, but between firebombings, racially charged graffiti, student occupations, and hunger strikes, he probably dealt with enough strife and campus unrest to fill two decades of Wes history. Twenty years later, Chace, a literature scholar and former Stanford administrator, still wrestles with his Wesleyan experience. “Those were the hardest years of my life,” President Chace told Wesleying. “It was a tough place for me.”
“Perhaps some of the problems were of my own making,” he conceded, “but I didn’t bomb my own office.”
Back in the fall, we contacted President Chace, who left the presidency of Emory University in 2003 and now lives in California, for an interview. “Well, of course,” Chace soon replied. “But please keep in mind that I left Wesleyan in 1994, some 18 years ago, and I do not have with me records of the time. So it will be memory, all memory, a facility at once pregnant with apparent certitude and often quite erroneous.”
The best presidential-themed blog on the interwebs. Bar none.
If you’re still swamped in finals work, take a deep breath. Step away from that bibliography. Then check out Presidential Pickup Lines.
If you thought you were the only one who giggled in 11th grade APUSH when the textbook mentioned Teddy Roosevelt’s Big Stick Policy, rest assured: you weren’t. And this mostly self-explanatory Tumblr was made for you. Look no further for historically enlightening innuendos involving Reagan’s “trickle down” economics, Nixon’s unfortunate nickname (though it’s Ford’s pickup line), and—in two simple strokes of brilliance—Buchanan’s lifelong relationship status and Harding’s, well, name. There’s a wide range of representation across the ideological and popularity spectrum as well (on first glance I didn’t see any entries involving Tyler or Polk, but I scrolled pretty quickly).
The blog went fairly viral sometime circa October 2011, at which point its anonymous founder posted this note:
Ol’ Dougie B. ’59 finally gets a building.
Looks like commencement speaker Senator Michael Bennet ’87 isn’t the only Bennet Wesleyan is honoring in the coming weeks. His father, Douglas Bennet ’59, P’87, P’94—better known on this campus as Wesleyan’s fifteenth president—will be receiving some attention as well. As Roth slyly announces in the middle of a blog post titled Check Out SWERVED and Good Luck on Finals, “We’ll also be honoring President Douglas Bennet ’59, P’87, P’94 and his family by re-naming Fauver Frosh Bennet Hall.” Well, hey. What would former athletic director Edgar Fauver think? The guy personally vaccinated the entire student body during the smallpox outbreak of 1914. Fauver Field was dedicated in his honor in 1959.
Despite a fairly shaky relationship with the student body towards the end of his term, Bennet was no sloucher himself. As Wikipedia sums it all up:
He was the fifteenth president of Wesleyan University, in Middletown, Connecticut, from 1995 to 2007. Before that, he served as Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs in the Clinton Administration (1993–95) and Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs in the Carter administration (1977–79), was the President and CEO of National Public Radio (1983–93), and ran the U.S. Agency for International Development under President Carter (1979–81).
Greetings from Middletown, sparse but avid readers!
Just a quick info-drop: The Wesleyan Connection recently posted a write-up on our most esteemed commander-in-chief Zach Schonfeld ’13, giving a play-by-play of his Olin Fellowship/History Channel-funded Americana exploits.
Schonfeld, in all his skinny-jeaned furrowed-brow intensity, is on an odyssey throughout the country visiting presidential birthplaces and other related historical sites, where he promptly harasses the locals and on-site experts and then proceeds to blog about it beneath the banner “I Visit Presidential Birthplaces.”
You can follow Schonfeld’s invasion of presidential households here.
And you can read the Wesleyan Connection’s write-up here.
I hope your season is going swell, Weskids! Now go get them mo mo’s.
Remember Dougie B? Neither do I—the last Wesleyan class to have overlapped with President Douglas J. Bennet ’59’s 1995-2007 term just graduated in 2010. Three cheers for limited institutional memory.
Turns out Bennet (whose son Michael ’87 was reelected Colorado senator in one of the nation’s most heated senate races just last fall, by the way) has just been named to one of the most prestigious academic honorary societies in the world—the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, which describes itself as “an independent policy research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems.” From the Wesleyan Connection:
As one of 212 new AAAS members, Bennet joins one of the world’s most prestigious honorary societies and leading centers for independent policy research.
“It is a privilege to honor these men and women for their extraordinary individual accomplishments,” said Leslie Berlowitz, Academy President and William T. Golden Chair. “The knowledge and expertise of our members give the Academy a unique capacity – and responsibility – to provide practical policy solutions to the pressing challenges of the day. We look forward to engaging our new members in this work.”
For more archival deets on our fifteenth president, you may be interested in . . .