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UVM Sends Off Largest Class at Sun-Filled Ceremony (up^)
At a sun-splashed commencement ceremony on the University Green before a crowd of more than 10,000, United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki told the largest and most diverse graduating class in the history of the University of Vermont that what the world needs most is for them to make caring for others a personal devotion on a level that goes well beyond the traditional definition of volunteerism. "Make no mistake about it — one of life's greatest gifts is the privilege of sharing one's own blessings with others," said Shinseki, a decorated Vietnam War hero and tireless advocate for veterans. " That's what's really needed — people who are willing to serve the needs of others." Full story with links to photos of this year’s Commencement here.
UVM Dedicates Major New Academic Facility to Senator James M. Jeffords (up^)
One of the largest academic and research facilities in UVM history — the 97,000 square foot James M. Jeffords Hall — officially opened its doors on May 22 at a special dedication ceremony attended by university leaders, faculty and students, state and federal officials, and members of the Jeffords family. The $55.7 million building is the largest non-medical academic building to be constructed on campus since Cook Physical Science Building in 1969. The three-story, state-of-the art research, laboratory, and classroom complex houses seven cutting-edge teaching labs and three classrooms on the first floor for undergraduate and graduate students in the life sciences. The upper two floors contain research laboratories and offices for two academic departments: Plant Biology and Plant and Soil Science, both in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS). "Jeffords Hall offers students in the life sciences from across the university the opportunity to learn in state-of-the-art teaching labs and classrooms that are second-to none," said UVM President Daniel Mark Fogel. "It also significantly enhances research and teaching in both the Plant Biology and Plant and Soil Science departments, bolstering our efforts to address the most pressing agricultural and environmental issues facing Vermont and the rest of the nation." Full story here.
Board Approves TRI, Four Percent Tuition Increase (up^)
The UVM Board of Trustees took action on two high-profile items in its meeting May 21 and 22, electing to increase tuition four percent for the 2010/2011 academic year and giving the go-ahead to the Transdisciplinary Research Initiative, a far-reaching program gaining attention in the national press that will focus a portion of future investment in three areas of interdisciplinary strength at the university. With some critics calling for a lower tuition hike lower than four percent, including Governor Jim Douglas, who attended the Committee of the Whole meeting Friday afternoon and advocated for no increase, President Daniel Mark Fogel addressed the university's challenging financial position in his report to the full board Friday morning. Full story here.
Smithsonian Museum Honors John Todd's Eco-Machine (up^)
The Smithsonian's National Design Museum has selected an "Eco-Machine" created by John Todd, professor of ecological design at the University of Vermont, as one of the winners of its National Design Triennial. Todd's Eco-Machine is an advanced waste-water treatment system that mimics nature, using an integrated series of tanks filled with microbes, algae, plants and even fish to clean water and break down sludge. Part of the new exhibition, "Why Design Now?" Todd's Eco-Machine was selected by the curators as one of "the most innovative, forward thinking designs at the center of contemporary culture in the previous three years." The exhibition opened at the Smithsonian Institution's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York City, May 14 and will be on view through January 9, 2011. Full story here.
National Geographic Selects Saleem Ali as Explorer (up^)
The National Geographic Society has selected University of Vermont scientist Saleem Ali as an "Emerging Explorer" for 2010. He is featured in the June edition of National Geographic magazine. One of fourteen "visionary, young trailblazers from around the world," the society announced, Ali, an expert in conflict resolution and environmental science, will also receive a $10,000 prize. Ali has received international acclaim for his work to bring together vying — even warring — groups to communicate and build diplomatic trust. "My goal is to get policymakers and educators thinking about how environmental issues can, in fact, be used as a peace-building strategy," says Ali, professor of environmental planning and Asian studies. Read more here.
Three Students Win Prestigious Fulbright Scholarships (up^)
Three University of Vermont students have been awarded prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Program Scholarships to pursue independent research or teach abroad. University of Vermont alumna Dzeneta Karabegovic '08 was awarded a scholarship to pursue an independent research project on social networks within the Bosnian diaspora population in Sweden. She will spend the year with researchers at Uppsala University working to get a better understanding of how diaspora members interact with their community and the greater Swedish population. Emily Lubell '09 has been awarded a scholarship to pursue an independent research project on the correlation between socioeconomic status and the prevalence of kidney stones among the population in Arica, Chile. Lubell will spend the year working with public health officials determining if people of a lower socioeconomic standing are more susceptible to kidney stones. Matthew Greene '10 was awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in the Czech Republic for the 2010-2011 academic year. He will work as an English teaching assistant for two high schools in the small Czech city of Havlickuv Brod, located in the middle of the country. Read the full story and view a video of the three Fulbright Scholars here.
New Partnership Brings 28 Chinese Students to UVM (up^)
Twenty-eight Chinese international students began their UVM undergraduate careers this spring as part of an innovative program the University of Vermont is participating in called the U.S.-Sino Pathway Program (USSP). USPP is a newly formed partnership between the Consortium of North American Universities, including Baylor University, Northeastern University, and the University of Utah, as well as UVM, and global education service provider Kaplan China. The program is premised on the idea that most international students need more than English language skills to succeed in American higher education. Before enrolling at one of the partnership schools, the 179 Chinese students selected for the program spent a foundational year studying at one of eight Kaplan China centers, located in Beijing, Changsha, Chengdu, Chongqing, Hangzhou, Qingdao, Shanghai and Suzhou. Full story here.
Alumni Association Honors Outstanding Graduates, Faculty (up^)
The University of Vermont Alumni Association honored outstanding graduates at its annual reunion weekend celebration on Saturday, June 5, 2010. UVM President Daniel Mark Fogel presented award citations to the following honorees — Distinguished Service Award: A. Key Compton '92, New York, New York; Janet Terp '80, Hanover, New Hampshire. Alumni Achievement Award — Dr. Laura Berman '90 Chicago, Illinois; Jan Blittersdorf '84 Charlotte, Vermont; Jim Lampman '72 Charlotte, Vermont; Brian P. Sack '92 Larchmont, New York; Thelma Wayler '45 Canton, Massachusetts. Young Alumni Award — Erin Stahl Cohen '00, New York, New York; Sara Kinnamon Fritsch '00, Portland, Oregon; Jordan B. Saxe '02, New York, New York. George V. Kidder Outstanding Faculty Award — Robert Manning, Burlington, Vermont. More about the alumni awards and this year's honorees here.
New England Losing Forest Cover, Report Shows (up^)
New England forests stand at a turning point. A new study released today by the Harvard Forest reports that, following almost 200 years of natural reforestation, forest cover is declining in Vermont and all the other New England states. The authors of the Wildlands and Woodlands report, including University of Vermont forester Bill Keeton, call for conserving 70 percent of New England as forestland, a target that they say is critical to protecting vital natural benefits that would be costly, and in some cases impossible, to replace. "This may be unprecedented," said Keeton, "it's one of the first time that forest scientists from leading institutions across the whole of New England have gotten together to share a common conservation vision for the region." Read more here.
Audio Slideshow: Student Research Conference (up^)
The 2010 edition of UVM's Student Research Conference occupied most of the fourth floor of the Davis Center on April 22 and attracted a crowd of observers. In all, a record 229 students participated, almost a third more than last year, including 99 undergraduates. Among the noteworthy aspects of this year's event: more students than ever before from non-STEM disciplines (science, technology, math, and engineering) were represented. "We made a serious effort to engage students in the social sciences and the fine arts, the humanities and the professions," said Honor College dean S. Abu Rizvi. View the audio slideshow here.
Student’s Honors Thesis Contributes to Assessment of Defense Threats (up^)
"My honors thesis is evaluating the effects of weathering on fluid transport through building materials — like how much more fluid can get into concrete as it gets older," says Laura Townsend '10. And if that fluid happens to be a chemical weapon, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency would like to know what happens to it. Townsend's research is part of a project led by her co-advisers — professors Mandar Dewoolkar and Donna Rizzo in the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences — and supported by the defense agency. "Our goal is to understand the pore structure of common building materials," Dewoolkar says, "with the eventual goal of developing decontamination strategies in case of attack." Full story here.
"Caring for Nurses" Gift Supports Innovative Education Pilot (up^)
In recognition of the important role nurses play in patient care, a generous gift from Burlington, Vermont, philanthropists has established "The Holly and Robert Miller Caring for Nurses Initiative" at the University of Vermont College of Nursing and Health Sciences. The gift will allow UVM to pilot an innovative approach to enable future nurses to strengthen their commitment to the profession, embody more fully the deeply held values of nursing, and assume a leadership role in the formation of a better and more compassionate health care system. "Nurses spend their lives caring for others," say donors Holly and Robert Miller. "Through this gift, we hope to shine a light on their courage and the critical healing presence they bring to patients." Read more here.
Social Work Students Take the Field (up^)
For UVM social work students, the moment they know they've made the right career choice doesn't usually happen in the classroom. It often happens with a client during their field education placement with a local nonprofit or public agency. For senior Ashley Elder, one of those moments occurred last winter while working with a young woman at the Burlington Community Justice Center. Elder's field placement, a requirement of all social work students, had her on the front lines of a cutting-edge diversionary program for juvenile offenders. Her job was to run restorative justice panels designed to bring together victims, offenders and community members to discuss the impact of a crime and find ways to make amends to all parties. Full story here.
Vermont Athletics Year In Review: 2009-10 (up^)
The 2009-10 athletic season was a historic one for the University of Vermont as the men's and women's basketball and men's hockey teams all advanced to the NCAA Tournament in the same season for the first time in the department's history. Also highlighting the year was a second straight NCAA National Champion in Nordic skiing as sophomore Franz Bernstein became the first Catamount to win a national championship in the freestyle since 1998. In the classroom, the Catamounts posted back-to-back department best GPAs for the fall and spring semesters. In the fall, UVM student-athletes earned a 3.155 cumulative grade point average and improved to a 3.22 GPA in the spring, the best semester GPA in the department's history. The spring semester marked the 16th consecutive period Vermont student-athletes achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. Full story here. 2009-10 Vermont Athletics Highlight Video.
Former Catamount Patrick Sharp Wins Stanley Cup (up^)
Former University of Vermont men's hockey standout Patrick Sharp '02 became the fourth Catamount to win the Stanley Cup in the program's history when the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Philadelphia Flyers, 4-3 in overtime, on Wednesday evening. Sharp, an assistant captain for the Blackhawks, finished the 2010 playoffs with 22 points in 22 games. He tallied 11 goals, including one in Game 6, and 11 assists and had a +10 rating overall. In the Philadelphia series alone, Sharp scored four goals and added two assists for six points in the six games. More here, here, and here.
In Memoriam (up^)
The New York Times reported the death of the extraordinary UVM alumna Vera B. Saeedpour, age 80, in a June 7 article. Saeedpour, a member of the undergraduate Class of 1972 and Graduate College 1973, a Phi Beta Kappa scholar who earned a bachelor's degree in sociology in her 40s from UVM and stayed at the university to finish a master's in philosophy, founded the first library and museum in the U.S. dedicated to Kurdish culture. Read the full obituary online, and read more about Saeedpour in this April 2009 New York Times article about her work.
Campus Kudos (up^)
Robert Althoff, assistant professor of psychiatry, published a paper titled "Dysregulated children reconsidered" in the April 2010 Journal of the American Academy of Adolscent Psychiatry.
Kalev Freeman, assistant professor of surgery, was appointed to serve as a research methodology editor on the editorial board of the Annals of Emergency Medicine.
Virginia L. Hood, M.B.B.S., M.P.H., F.A.C.P., professor of medicine at the University of Vermont College of Medicine and an internist and nephrologist at Fletcher Allen Health Care, took office April 24, 2010, as president-elect of the American College of Physicians (ACP), the nation's second-largest physician organization. Her term as presidents begins in April 2011.
James Hudziak, professor of psychiatry, is a coauthor of a paper titled "Moderation of genetic factors by parental divorce in adolescents' evaluations of family functioning and subjective wellbeing" in the April 2010 Twin Research and Human Genetics.
Wolfgang Mieder, professor of German, was elected to membership in the P.E.N. Center for German-Speaking Authors Abroad, which is a chapter of the International P.E.N. Club.
Scott Morrical, professor of biochemistry, accepted an invitation to serve a four-year term as a member of the Molecular Genetics A Study Section of the Center for Scientific Review at the National Institutes of Health beginning July 1, 2010. Members are selected on the basis of their demonstrated competence and achievement in their scientific discipline as evidenced by the quality of research accomplishments, publications in scientific journals, and other significant scientific activities, achievements and honors.
Richard Pratley, professor of medicine and director of the Diabetes and Metabolism Translational Medicine Unit, is lead author of a paper in the April 24 Lancet titled "Liraglutide versus sitagliptin for patients with type 2 diabetes who did not have adequate glycaemic control with metformin: a 26-week, randomised, parallel-group, open-label trial".
Carlene Raper, associate professor of microbiology and molecular genetics, emerita, is joint author of the introductory chapter, "History and Importance [of Fungi] to Human Affairs" in the book Cellular and Molecular Biology of Filamentous Fungi, eds. K. A. Borkovich and D. J. Ebbole, ASM Press, January, 2010.
Gail Rose, research assistant professor of psychiatry, was lead author of a study titled "Utility of Prompting Physicians for Brief Alcohol Intervention" in the May 2010 issue of the journal Substance Use & Misuse. Co-authors on the paper include John Helzer, professor emeritus of psychiatry, and Dennis Plante, associate professor of medicine.
Fred Friendly Seminars and Vermont Public Television (VPT) were selected to jointly receive the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Outstanding Media Award for Public Service in recognition of the national PBS-broadcasted program's contribution to public education and VPT's community engagement campaign. NAMI cited the notable role of Thomas Simpatico, professor and director of public psychiatry, as a panelist in the national Fred Friendly program.
Burton Sobel, professor of medicine and biochemistry, was presented with an inaugural Distinguished Scientist Award at the Society for Experimental Biology (SEBM) annual meeting in Anaheim, California, in April. The award, which was presented to eight past presidents of SEBM, including Sobel, recognizes biomedical scientists whose seminal research accomplishments have established them as leaders in biomedicine, and who have made significant contributions to SEBM.
Susan Wallace, professor and chair of microbiology and molecular genetics, is lead author of a March 16 paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science titled "The mouse ortholog of NEIL3 is a functional DNA glycosylase in vitro and in vivo." Co-authors on the paper include Minmin Liu, graduate student in microbiology and molecular genetics, and Jeffrey Bond, research associate professor of microbiology and molecular genetics.
An advanced copy of "Insertion Reactions and Catalytic Hydrophosphination by Triamidoamine-Supported Zirconium Complexes," an article by Rory Waterman, assistant professor, graduate students Andrew Roering and Sarah Leshinski, and former Project SEED researcher Stephanie Chan in the Department of Chemistry, has appeared on the website of the journal Organometallics in advance of print. The work describes the Waterman group's efforts in bond formation between carbon and phosphorus to make biologically relevant molecules.
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