Steal This Podium:

Worcester Academy Alumni Authors


At Worcester Academy’s Ross Auditorium, Warner Theater

* * *

At boarding school I was always taught,

Not to reveal what I really thought,

Nor ever once let my eyes betray

the dreadful things that I longed to say

* * *

These are lines from a 1929 song, “I’m in Love,” by Cole Porter, one of Worcester Academy’s most well known alums. Biographer William McBrien claims that Porter chafed under the watchful eye of Headmaster Dr. Daniel Abercrombie–called into his office for risqué performances of “The Bearded Lady” and other spoofs as a member of the WA class of 1909. Porter’s generation may have been taught to keep a tight lip, but this was clearly not the case for subsequent generations of Worcester Academy students. They’ve had plenty to say, from Abbie Hoffman’s Steal This Book (the best known work by an alum and thus the title of this series) to Richard Wolfson’s acclaimed Simply Einstein: Relativity Demystified to a host of others–Rewriting Shakespeare, Rewriting Ourselves by Peter Erickson, Samuel Adams: A Life by Ira Stoll, God on the Quad: How Religious Colleges and the Missionary Generation are Changing America by Naomi Schaefer Riley, to name a few.

Celebrating the many scholarly contributions of Academy graduates and their engagement in the world at large, Open Gates, Alumni House, and the Worcester Academy library welcomed David Muller ’66 to campus on Thursday, October 14th 2010. Mr. Muller, author of China as a Maritime Power, “cut the ribbon” at the official opening of the “Academy Collection of Arts and Letters.”  The collection, which is permanently on display in the library at Worcester Academy, is comprised of books and articles published by Worcester Academy alumni and faculty (click here for a taste of these publications). As a further step, the Open Gates lecture series for 2011-12 will feature alumni authors. Each will discuss the content of their particular publications as well as the craft of writing and publishing. The series will be co-hosted by Dr. John Murnane and Jack Haringa. Dr. Murnane is the Director of Academic Programs at Worcester Academy and has published several articles. Jack M. Haringa is a member of the Board of Advisors to the Shirley Jackson Awards. He is an author and Chair of the English Department at Worcester Academy, as well as co-editor, with S.T. Joshi, of the critical journal Dead Reckonings.


Rebecca Vaudreuil

Thursday, September 8th–7-8 p.m.

Rebecca Vaudreuil, NMT, MT–BC

Author of Group Music Therapy Intervention: Working In Neurologic Rehabilitation and Music Therapy and the Military: Working with Individual and Group Active Service Members and Veterans (forthcoming), Rebecca is a Worcester Academy alum who earned her Bachelors in music therapy at Berklee College of Music in Boston. A board certified music therapist, she also has her fellowship in Neurologic Music Therapy and is a Neo-Natal music therapy specialist. Rebecca currently resides in San Diego, CA and works throughout San Diego County. She is the Junior Joy Giver Program Director for Resounding Joy and also works at Learning Services, Inc. a center for traumatic brain injury in Escondido, CA; St. Madeline’s Sophie Center, an educational training center for developmentally delayed adults in El Cajon; Rady Children’s Hospital with cardiology patients, and in the San Diego Unified School District with children in special needs classroom settings. Rebecca also has a passion for international music therapy and has traveled to Japan, Africa and Jamaica to engage in and provide music therapy services in schools, orphanages, and infirmaries. She is planning a trip to India in 2012 to work in palliative and hospice care.

* * *

Naomi Schaefer Riley

Thursday, October 27th

7- 8 p.m.

Naomi Schaefer Riley is an affiliate scholar at the Institute for American Values. Her book The Faculty Lounges… And Other Reasons You Won’t Get the College Education You Paid For was just published by Ivan Dee. Ms. Riley was, until recently, the deputy Taste editor of the Wall Street Journal, where she covered religion, higher education and philanthropy for the editorial page. Her book, God on the Quad: How Religious Colleges and the Missionary Generation Are Changing America, was published by St. Martin’s in 2005. Prior to joining the Journal, she founded In Character, a magazine published by the John M. Templeton Foundation. Her writing has also been published in the Boston Globe the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and the Chronicle of Higher Education among other publications. She has been the recipient of the Phillips Foundation Journalism Fellowship and the Intercollegiate Studies Institute Journalism Fellowship. She is the winner of the 2006 American Academy of Religion’s Newswriting Contest for Opinion Writing. Ms. Riley graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University. She lives in the suburbs of New York with her husband, Jason, and two children.

* * *

Rebecca Cypess, TBA

A Former adjunct faculty member of the Yale Department of Music and Yale School of Music and lecturer at Southern Connecticut State University, Rebecca Cypess joined the faculty of the New England Conservatory in the fall of 2008 upon completing her doctorate in musicology at Yale. Cypess publishes regularly in scholarly journals, with articles and reviews in Early Music, the Journal of Musicology, the Galpin Society Journal, the International Review of the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music, Early Music America, and Encyclopedia Britannica. She has presented papers at meetings of the American Musicological Society, the Renaissance Society of America, the American Musical Instrument Society, and the Society for Seventeenth-Century Music. Although her primary area of research is 17th-century music, she has also written and lectured on ethnomusicological issues in the American Jewish community, and she has an essay due to be published soon on John Adams’s opera Doctor Atomic. She is currently writing her first book, which deals with the negotiation of time and the preservation of memory in Italian instrumental music between 1615 and 1630. She has a B.A. in Music History and Performance, Cornell University. M. Mus. in Harpsichord Performance, Royal College of Music. M.A. in Bible, Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, Yeshiva University. M.A. M.Phil., and Ph.D. in Music History, Yale University.





Those who attended Jonathan Starr’s Open Gates lecture (the “Failure of Aid Work and NGOs in Africa,” January 8th, 2011, 7-8 PM) will recognize the gist of  Mr. Starr’s recent Wall Street Journal OpEd piece. It is a theme that Clark University’s Professor Richard Ford touched on as part of the Open Gates series on Global Problems last week, “Listening to the People: Development as If People Mattered,” April 12, 2011, 7-8 PM. (Video of Professor Ford’s lecture forthcoming.)

For Mr. Starr’s article, click here.

For Mr. Starr’s lecture at WA, click here.

Shabana Basij Rasikh on

Afghanistan, Women and Education, to be rescheduled due to snow

Shabana Basij Rasikh was born and raised in Kabul, Afghanistan. She attended “secret schools” during the Taliban years; after the fall of the Taliban she completed her secondary education at Maryam High School. In 2005, Shabana attended high school in the USA through the year-long Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program sponsored by the US State Department. Following her secondary school career, she worked as an Executive Assistant to the Country Director of American Councils for International Education in Kabul as a one year appointment. Shabana is the Executive Director of Afghan Youth Initiative. Shabana is a senior at Middlebury College, double-majoring in International Studies and Women and Gender Studies. She is a senior fellow at the Middlebury College Admissions Office. In addition, she is the President of HELA, a non-governmental organization that is raising money to build the first girls high school in Qalatik, her family’s ancestral village in Afhganistan; she was featured as in the October issue of Glamour as one of the “Top Ten College Women” for 2010 (click here for more).

Somaliland Connection

Monday, January 10, 2011

Teaching partners
City native started Somaliland academy