First Lady of Comedy
For those waiting in the Green Room of the Barstow Stage in Alumnae Hall, there’s new inspiration to go out and kill: a portrait of Nora Ephron ’62. The oil painting was donated by artist Byron Dobell, former editor of Esquire, New York, and American Heritage, who left publishing in the 1990s to paint full time. His paintings—including those of Betty Friedan and Ted Kennedy—hang in the National Portrait Gallery. Dobell, a longtime friend and colleague of Ephron’s, painted the portrait after her death using photographs chosen by her husband, Nicholas Pileggi. The Theatre Studies Department will be featuring Ephron in a new course this year taught by Marta Rainer ’98, That’s What She Said: Trailblazing Women of American Comedy.
Last summer, 560 people—including alumnae—signed up for the College’s first-ever SPOC (Small Private Online Course), Beginning Italian Language and Culture, taught by Daniela Bartalesi-Graf, lecturer in Italian Studies. To design the course, “I tried to place myself in the shoes not just of our college-age learners, but retired alumnae, working people, high-school students occupied with summer jobs and other activities,” says Bartalesi-Graf. One happy student was Bates/Hart Professor of English Kathryn Lynch, who says, “It was hard work (really hard work), but any student giving the course her attention would rapidly learn to speak and understand Italian …. I loved the lighthearted video skits that show fictional Wellesley students and Italian exchange students engaged in their ordinary life on campus—doing laundry, jogging around the lake, hanging out in the Slater Center, making plans to go into the ville or to Boston—all in perfect idiomatic Italian!”
Call it Sed Ministrare at the institutional level. Local nonprofits have been the beneficiaries of Wellesley’s Campus Renewal program. Kitchens in Beebe, Munger, and Cazenove were recently upgraded; old stoves, prep tables, and a warming unit went to local food pantries, a homeless shelter, and a church. When McAfee received new furniture, its old beds went to Casa Esperanza, a facility that responds to drug and alcohol abuse; to Volunteers of America, which runs a residential treatment program; and to Old Colony YMCA.
For updates on Campus Renewal construction projects, visit The Dirt, blogs.wellesley.edu/thedirt/.