Archive for March, 2012


Award-Winning Poet to Read at Widener

March 27, 2012

Poet Dilruba Ahmed asked an evocative question in a press release accompanying her first book’s publication. “What does it mean to be a Philadelphia-born Bangladeshi-American woman, a writer of color with a Muslim surname raised in small Midwestern towns?”

The New York Times said in its review that her book, “Dhaka Dust, winner of the 2010 Bakeless Prize for poetry, is her attempt at an answer. Though she’s American, Ms. Ahmed makes it clear that she’s been honed and haunted by her ghost homeland, Bangladesh.”

Ahmed will read from her work at 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 3, in the Drost Room on the second floor of the Wolfgram Memorial Library. The reading is free and open to the public.

You can read a poem by Ahmed published in Philadelphia Stories.


Service with a Smile — Widener’s Don Devilbiss

March 22, 2012

At a recent university-wide faculty and staff meeting, President James T. Harris III referred to Don Devilbiss, newly named acting dean of Widener’s University College, as probably the nicest person on campus.

I can’t disagree. I had the pleasure recently to write a profile of Don for Grow, University College’s triannual publication. Now in his 45th year with Widener, Don also is the winner of the 2012 R. Kelso Carter Award from the Alumni Association and will be recognized at the awards dinner on April 14.

My favorite part of the story was learning that Don once wore his cap and gown to deliver the diploma to a graduate who inadvertently scheduled her wedding on the same day as graduation. She was unable to attend graduation, so that afternoon Don delivered her diploma at her wedding reception. To read the story and learn more about Devilbiss, click here.

— Sam Starnes, Editor


Gen. McChrystal to Speak at Widener

March 14, 2012

ImageWidener and Pennsylvania Military College have a very long tradition of preparing soldiers and serving veterans. On Monday, March 26, one of America’s most highly decorated veterans, retired four-star Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the former commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan, will be on campus.

McChrystal, Time magazine’s Person of the Year in 2009, will speak at 3:15 p.m. in the University Center Webb Room. The event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. Reserve seats by calling 610-499-4112 or by e-mailing For more information, see the press release. He also will be appearing at the Kimmel Center that night at 8 p.m. as part of the Philadelphia Speakers Series presented by Widener.


Widener Student Releases Bluegrass Album

March 8, 2012

Widener sophomore Ethan Hughes is an accomplished musician featured on the Bluegrass Today website for his first album Searching for a Home from Patuxent Music.

A sophomore studying mechanical engineering, he is also the treasurer for the Widener chapter of Engineers Without Borders.  (Look for an article on the group’s project to bring solar power to a Panamanian village in the next issue of Widener Magazine due out in April.)

In the meantime, read the article about Hughes and check out this video of him playing the dobro from 2008.


Can You Solve Widener – Springsteen Mystery?

March 6, 2012

With the opening of the Bruce Springsteen exhibit at the National Constitution Center, and today’s release of his new album, Wrecking Ball, there is renewed interest in Springsteen’s career, especially the early years.

For nearly four decades, fans have debated the origin of some of the earliest concert footage of “The Boss” filmed at Widener College in February 1975.

One theory is that the filming of the Widener concert was approved by Springsteen himself, while others argue that it was just a random fan. For years, the university has received calls and e-mails from fans and Springsteen scholars about his concert and we have been unable to provide those answers.

If you have any information about who filmed the historic concert at Widener, please post to the blog and help us solve this mystery once and for all!


Way Back Machine: Engineering Senior Projects

March 2, 2012

The Widener School of Engineering’s senior projects day has long been a big event on campus. We believe this circa 1970s photo comes from the annual event, but we don’t know the details of the presentation or the names of those pictured.  If you know, please post a note in the reply field below. (Click on the image to enlarge it.)

This year’s presentation of senior projects will be on Friday, April 13, in Room 149 in Kirkbride Hall. If you’d like to attend or more information, please call Georgeann Gardner at 610-499-4037.

For more on the School of Engineering’s sesquicentennial, be sure to look out for the new issue of Widener Magazine due out in April and a new web site coming soon.  In the meantime, check out the page with information about the 150th Anniversary Gala set for Nov. 3 in Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute.