Widener English Professor Who Developed Prison Writing Anthology to Read at Media Arts Center

January 13, 2015

ContactSheet-026If you enjoyed Jayne Thompson’s article “Writing Wrongs, Mentoring Youth, Redeeming Souls” in the most recent Widener Magazine, you should  come hear her read as part of the State Street Reading Series on Thursday night in Media, Pa.

Thompson, a senior lecturer in the English Department, and Widener student Emily Defreitas co-edited Letters to My Younger Self: An Anthology of Writings by Incarcerated Men at S.C.I. Graterford and a Writing Workbook. The anthology of inmate writing was released last year, and received significant news coverage in the area.  She also recently was profiled by Widener sophomore Ashley DiRienzo on the Blue & Gold, Widener University’s Student Media Site.

Thompson will read at 7 p.m. Thursday night, January 15, and will be joined by Lise Funderburg, a Philadelphia-based writer who is the author of Pig Candy: Taking My Father South, Taking My Father Home. The State Street Reading Series is sponsored by Widener and the Media Arts Council, and is held every other month at the Media Arts Center Gallery, 609 W. State St., in Media. Thompson plans to read an essay about the anthology, as well as excerpts of the work published by the men. Admission is free and reservations are not required.


A Widener Magazine about Chester

December 18, 2014

In addition to my duties as editor of Widener Magazine, I often teach courses for the university. Last spring I taught five very talented students in a Magazine Journalism course who produced content for the inaugural issue of a magazine about Widener’s home city. Three more students assisted in copy editing and design over the summer and into the fall, and last month the first issue of Chester magazine was published.

One of the students from the class, Khalil Williams ’16, a communication studies student from Chester, was honored for his contributions by Chester Mayor John Linder (a 1976 Widener alumnus) with the Mayor’s Recognition Award at a recent City Council meeting.

Although print copies are limited, the magazine can be found online. You also can read more about it in a feature on Widener’s web site that allows you to watch three of the students and me in an appearance on the “Live from the Newsroom” show hosted by Delaware County Times Daily News Editor Phil Herron.

– Sam Starnes, Editor



Anthology with Widener Ties Making News

October 22, 2014

Thompson & Defreitas

The recent issue of Widener Magazine included the story “Writing Wrongs, Mentoring Youth, Redeeming Souls” by Jayne Thompson, a senior lecturer in Widener’s English Department. Thompson and Emily Defreitas, a senior English/creative writing major, collaborated to edit the book, Letters to My Younger Self: An Anthology of Writings by Incarcerated Men at S.C.I. Graterford and a Writing Workbook.  If you didn’t read Thompson’s article, be sure to check it out — it’s a fine piece of writing, as is the book.

Thompson and Defreitas (pictured above in Widener’s Wolfgram Memorial Library) are featured today in a Philadelphia Inquirer article, “Insights from inmates form a compelling book.”  In addition, Thompson appeared on the show Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane on WHHY-FM Friday morning. You can listen to a podcast of that interview.

This past Sunday, Ed Gebhart, a columnist for the Delaware County Daily Times, wrote about Thompson’s article in Widener Magazine, and also paid some very kind and much appreciated compliments to the work we do here.

–Sam Starnes, Editor


Strategy Sessions & More: Fall Widener Magazine

September 26, 2014

The newest edition of the Widener Magazine has rolled off the press and is on the way to alumni and other members of the university community. Feature stories focus on Widener’s strategic plans, cancer-fighting research by an engineering faculty member and a student, an anthology of writing by inmates edited by an English Department faculty member and a student, as well as a Q&A with three new deans on campus. Look for yours in print or check it out online.

final cover for fall 2014


Something for Everyone at Widener Homecoming

September 18, 2014

With almost 40 separate events, Widener’s 2014 Homecoming/Family Weekend — with most activities taking place from Friday, Oct. 17 through Sunday, Oct. 19 — has something to appeal to all alumni, students, parents, faculty, and staff.

Activities range from receptions at the individual schools, breakfasts, barbecues, parties, as well as an alumni softball and roller hockey games, a stargazing night in the Widener observatory, a hypnotist, a stand-up comedian, and of course, the annual football game.

Check out the full schedule to see the event, time, and place for you. We hope to see you on campus next month!

Joshua Jackson and Emily Conover were crowned 2012 Homecoming king and queen.


Widener Open House for Lifelong Learners

August 20, 2014
Exton pic

Widener’s Exton Campus

By Khalil Williams ‘16

Are you interested in learning about wine, becoming technologically savvy, or understanding history?

If yes, Widener’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) in Exton, Pennsylvania, is offering classes on these topics and many more starting in the fall semester.

All are welcome at an open house from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday, August 28, at the Exton Campus at 825 Springdale Drive in Exton. Attendees can learn about lifelong learning classes being offered this fall, meet the instructors, tour the facility, and register for classes. Call 484-713-0088 to reserve a spot.

With more than 60 courses available in a wide range of subjects, field trips, a speaker series, and more, OLLI provides unique, socially engaging programs for mature adults who want to experience the joy of learning. Topics covered include current events, history, travel, literature, genealogy, wine appreciation, music, philosophy, psychology, and religion. Non-credit courses are offered at the Exton Campus and off-site locations in Chester and Delaware counties. For more information, visit www.widener.edu/olli.


Widener Helps Commemorate Internet Milestone

August 5, 2014
Drew photo

Widener sophomore Drew Phillipes (right) takes a selfie with panelist Jeff Jarvis, founder of BuzzMachine. (Photo by Emma Litwiller ’15.)

By Maria Klecko ’15

Members of the Widener community recently gathered with leading national journalists in New York to commemorate and evaluate a quarter century of the Internet and online news.

The university co-sponsored the event “Journalism and the Web@25: Lessons in Disruption, Evolution and Endurance” hosted by the Poynter Institute at the Ford Foundation. Industry professionals from advertising, technology, and communication fields attended, interacting with one another and hearing about the impact of the Web on journalism.

A select group of Widener students were invited to help facilitate the event, registering guests and ushering them to the venue. Faculty members from the university also attended.

Dr. Amy Franzini, chairperson and associate professor of communication studies, gave opening remarks expressing Widener’s support of Poynter’s mission to connect journalists across the globe and gratitude for the opportunity to be involved in the discussion.

Poynter Institute President Tim Franklin moderated while a panel of journalists and media executives participated in a lively discussion, reflecting on how journalism has changed since the invention of the Web and speculating the future of digital media. They also shared personal experiences and lessons learned from digital journalism.

Panelists included Rob King, senior vice president of ESPN; Brian Stelter, senior media correspondent for CNN Worldwide and host of the network’s “Reliable Sources”; Melissa Bell, co-founder and executive editor of Vox.com; Kathleen Carroll, executive editor and senior vice president of the Associated Press; and Jeff Jarvis, founder of BuzzMachine.com and professor and director of the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism.

Prior to the event, several Widener faculty members wrote opinion pieces for the Poynter website Press Room page on the impact of the web on several fields including privacy, mental health, and the gathering and dissemination of news. Authors included Franzini, Angie Corbo, assistant professor of communication studies; Dwight DeWerth-Pallmeyer, associate professor of communication studies; Sanjay Nath, director of the Institute for Graduate Clinical Psychology; and Robert Power, professor of law.

To learn more about the event, read an article from Poynter highlighting its key discussion points.


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