The Bernard Osher Foundation has given $1 million to endow the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in the School of Continuing Studies.
The Osher Institute serves members age 50 and older from the local community, linking them to educational opportunities on campus and providing noncredit courses, lectures, travel, and other programs.
If your knowledge of Cuban music begins and ends with Desi Arnaz and Gloria Estefan, Dr. Mike Davison, professor of music, wants to introduce you to a rich musical heritage that he believes changed the course of American music.
Whether it’s son, salsa, rumba, mambo, or other Cuban styles, Davison (pictured above) has become one of the leading experts. He has visited the Caribbean country 13 times in the past eight years, taking Richmond students with him until 2004, when the U.S. government declared that undergraduates could take only semester-long trips to Cuba.
For the past two years, Davison and independent producer Ed Tillett have collaborated on a documentary about Cuban music that premiered Nov. 30 in Camp Concert Hall.
“Cuba: Rhythm in Motion,” is an hour-long “celebration of sharing music across the water,” Davison says. “We might not have ragtime or jazz or even rock ‘n’ roll,” he says, “if not for the help of Cuban music,” which blends rhythms and sounds from Africa, Western Europe, and North America. Conversely, Cubans have been influenced by American music, especially jazz, and continue to draw from it today, he says.
For their documentary, Davison and Tillett gained extraordinary access to both internationally known Cuban musicians and everyday dancers and singers, often finding them on street corners or in small cafes in Havana. In Miami last spring, they interviewed 89-year-old, Grammy Award-winning Israel “Cachao” Lopez, who invented the “descarga,” a jazz-like, improvisational style, and the mambo and continues to perform around the world.
The video also includes faces that will be familiar to a UR audience. Appearing along with Davison are Myra Daleng, director of dance, and alumnus Mark Lomanno, ’02, who accompanied Davison to Cuba.
Davison, who plays trumpet, says Cuban music is “a celebration of humanity.”
The institute is one of 115 Osher programs that the San Francisco-based foundation has helped establish on college campuses around the country. It is the second in Virginia to become endowed.
More than 600 Richmond-area residents participate in the Osher Institute at UR, a number that was a major consideration in the foundation’s decision to endow the institute. “Our startup program grew from zero to more than 600 members in only three years of operation” says Jane Dowrick, the institute’s director. “The members are interested in a wide range of liberal arts topics and are very active learners.” Sally Yates Wood, W’69, G’71, and L’80, attends Osher Institute classes with her father, John Wood. “My father will be 93 in January,” Wood says. “Osher classes give him an outlet to the world, continued learning, and new friendships.”
The $1 million endowment is in addition to $400,000 the foundation has given the School of Continuing Studies since 2004 to launch the institute. Reflecting its broad interest in supporting educational opportunities for adults, the foundation recently made a separate $100,000 gift to the University to provide scholarships for adult students pursuing degrees through the School of Continuing Studies.
Bernard Osher is a prominent businessman, community leader, and philanthropist. He established the foundation to support higher education and the arts and, more recently, to foster lifelong learning programs.
The University invites alumni and parents of current students to meet President Ed Ayers at a series of receptions this spring.
Ayers will host events in the following cities: San Diego (Jan. 29), Los Angeles (Jan. 30), San Francisco (Feb. 1), Tampa, Fla. (Feb. 12), Naples, Fla. (Feb. 13), Palm Beach, Fla. (Feb. 15), Boston (Feb. 27), Greenwich, Con. (Feb. 28), Summit, N.J. (Feb. 29), and Chicago (May 21).
Locations and dates are subject to change. For the latest schedule, visit UROnline.net.
The University has established a new lab for creating digital resources to enhance scholarship and teaching.
Located in Boatwright Memorial Library, the Digital Scholarship Lab “will serve as an incubator for the development of innovative digital tools,” says Kathy Monday, vice president for information services. “It will bring together scholars, technologists, librarians, and appropriate resources.”
President Ed Ayers, a pioneer of digital scholarship in the humanities, led the movement to create the lab. He was founding executive director of the Virginia Center for Digital History, and his prize-winning Web site, “The Valley of the Shadow: Two Communities in the American Civil War,” has been accessed millions of times.
“Digital scholarship is entering a new era, and I hope the University of Richmond can be at the forefront,” Ayers says. “Visualization and mapping, in particular, hold out exciting opportunities, and the Digital Scholarship Lab can pioneer in that work.”
Faculty members and students will use the lab to create online mapping interfaces for their research, data visualization, models, animations, and wiki-style programs that will allow students to share classroom insights with one another.
The lab also will partner with institutions and individuals outside the University to leverage its digital resources.
Woody Holton, associate professor of history, has been named a nonfiction finalist for a 2007 National Book Award for his work Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution.
Holton’s book portrays the framing of the U.S. Constitution as a struggle between aristocratic founding fathers and ordinary American farmers. He argues that the founding fathers were wary of the “excess of democracy” that was threatening their financial interests as it emerged among the states. They tried to curtail states’ rights and individual freedoms, but rebellion among average Americans forced the founding fathers to guarantee more personal liberties in the Constitution.
The National Book Awards were established in 1950 to recognize American literary excellence. Finalists receive a bronze medal and $1,000.
Richmond’s Dining Services won the gold medal for medium-size colleges and the People’s Choice Award at the 2007 conference of the National Association of College and University Food Services.
Wadia Samadi, ’11, was two years old in 1991 when civil war broke out in Kabul, Afghanistan. The sky rained rocket-propelled grenades as she and her family fled the country.
“It was just by luck that anyone made it out without getting killed,” she says.
Samadi is the third student to enroll in Richmond through the Initiative to Educate Afghan Women, a national program giving Afghan women the opportunity to pursue higher education in the United States.
Samadi is the first valedictorian of the International School of Kabul, but her formal education began in a refugee camp in Pakistan. Her family moved several times during middle and high school years, but her father always emphasized the importance of education. In 2002, Samadi and her family returned to Kabul.
As her family recovered from the financial hardships of refugee life, Samadi’s father borrowed money for her to attend Kabul International Academy (later named the International School of Kabul).
The school is a potential Taliban target because it enrolls Americans and because it educates girls at the high school level. “They are known for burning schools and books,” Samadi says.
Gail Goolsby, Samadi’s principal and counselor, says young Afghan women, such as Samadi, must have strong support to continue their education.
“Her family, especially her dad, is most supportive of the children—including his daughters—completing as much education as they can,” Goolsby says. “Wadia is a dedicated student, full of determination and academically strong.”
At Richmond, Samadi plans to major in business. Upon completion of her undergraduate studies, the Initiative to Educate Afghan Women will require her to return to Afghanistan.
Dining Services’ entry included a copy of the menu cycle, nutritional information, communication methods, balance options, menu specials, and promotions. Entries were judged on balance, creativity, marketing, nutrition education, and other criteria.
Conference attendees voted on the People’s Choice Award. Richmond won for best residence hall menu, which represents the best menu in the category from all colleges and universities in the competition.
In the basement of retired history professor Harrison Daniel’s home, a dusty bottle collection provides a glimpse of the good ol’ days on Bostwick Lane.
Beginning in 1914, Bostwick Lane was the happy playground of nearly 100 faculty children, including Daniel’s daughter, Ann Margaret, and Brian Bolt, R’86, the son of retired history professor Ernie Bolt.
When Brian and Ann Margaret were about 10 years old, they started digging for treasure in what they called “Boatwright dump,” an old refuse pile behind the house where President Frederic Boatwright lived for many years.
They unearthed bottles that contained everything from baby formula to Milk of Magnesia. (One bottle still has fermented honey in it.) Some of the bottles date back to the 1920s and 1930s, when faculty offspring—including Trustee Emeritus Charles Ryland, R’36, L’39 and H’71—swam in the water tower at the end of Bostwick Lane.
The water tower is long gone, and so are the children. But Daniel’s wife, Margaret Daniel, catches up with many of them in “The Children of Bostwick Lane,” a Web bonus feature at
An exhibit summarizing the University’s history will be on display at the Virginia Baptist Historical Society until July 1.
“Richmond Adventure: History in a Nutshell” traces UR’s history from the earliest days of Dunlora Academy to present.
Assembled by Michael Whitt, R’78, the exhibit uses documents, photographs, and artifacts to tell the Richmond story. Whitt is the special projects assistant at the historical society, which manages the University’s archives in a separate wing of Boatwright Memorial Library.
The exhibit is open weekdays 9 a.m.–noon and 1 p.m.–4:30 p.m.
Dr. Aparna Telang, assistant professor of biology, has received a two-year, $265,656 grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The NIH grant will support research titled “Nutritional and Endocrine Control of Mosquito Egg Development.”
“Mosquitoes are major vectors of pathogens that cause human diseases,” Telang explains. “My research focuses on nutritional physiology because the ability of mosquitoes to grow, develop, and successfully produce eggs is nutrient limited.”
The NIH grant will fund summer research for Telang and several undergraduate students, including lab support, equipment, supplies, and travel. “Students collaborating with me should expect to gain skills in organism biology, biochemistry, physiology, and molecular biology,” Telang says.
Dr. Lisa Gentile, associate professor of chemistry, and Dr. Jonathan Dattelbaum, assistant professor of chemistry, have been awarded a three-year, $309,737 grant from the National Science Foundation.
They will use the money to purchase three instruments—a differential scanning calorimeter, an isothermal titration calorimeter, and a time-resolved fluorometer.
Richmond faculty and students will be the primary users of the equipment, but the University also will share the instruments with faculty from Hampton University, Virginia State University, and Randolph-Macon College.
Dr. Lori Gates Schuyler has been appointed chief of staff to President Ed Ayers, and Ann Lloyd Breeden has been named secretary to the Board of Trustees.
Schuyler will advise Ayers on policy decisions, work with members of the president’s cabinet to ensure implementation and tracking of university’s goals and objectives, and serve as Ayers’ representative.
About 120 years ago, the widow of James Thomas Jr. donated a silver chalice to the University that had belonged to her husband, the wealthy benefactor who saved Richmond College after the Civil War.
The chalice probably was displayed in the James Thomas Jr. Memorial Museum and Art Hall, an elaborate tribute to Thomas on the old downtown campus. When the University moved to the current campus in 1914, many treasures from the old museum were lost, but the chalice landed safely in the Rare Book Room of Boatwright Library.
The only record of the cup comes from Ann Fowle Rumble, W’75, who compiled an inventory of historical artifacts on campus in 1974. Soon after Rumble completed the list, however, the chalice disappeared.
Two years ago, Karl Rhodes, editor of Richmond Alumni Magazine, found Rumble’s description of the chalice in the University archives and started looking for the cup. Rumble remembered doing the inventory, but she had no idea what happened to the chalice. Neither did anyone else.
“It was weird,” Rhodes says. “We were looking for something from 1853 that had completely vanished from the University’s institutional memory—except for Ann’s inventory.”
The search continued until Rhodes received an e-mail in October from Jeff Evans, president of Green Valley Auctions. Evans had read about James Thomas in the magazine and wondered if the University would be interested in a chalice that had belonged to the 19th century tobacco magnate.
The cup was mixed in among the personal possessions of Stuart Wheeler, associate professor of classical studies, who died in 2006 after teaching at the University for nearly 40 years. Green Valley Auctions has returned it to the University archives, and it is on display at the Virginia Baptist Historical Society adjacent to Boatwright Library.
Schuyler previously was assistant dean and lecturer in history at the University of Virginia’s College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Her recent book, The Weight of Their Votes: Southern Women and Political Leverage in the 1920s, won honorable mention in the 2007 Virginia Literary Awards. It also claimed the Julia Cherry Spruill Prize for the best book on Southern women’s history for 2006.
Breeden’s primary role will be to support the work of the board and act as a liaison between it and the University community. A Richmond native, she previously served as senior assistant to the president of Georgetown University and assistant secretary of the university, working with Georgetown’s Board of Directors.
Mugs and jugs come to life in the Lora Robins Gallery of Design From Nature in an exhibit called “Ceramic Portraits: Selections From the Georganna Yeager Johns Collection of Royal Doulton Character Jugs.”
The people portrayed on the whimsical jugs range from Shakespearean characters and famous composers to Sherlock Holmes and the Beatles. The Lora Robins Gallery has more than 350 of the jugs in its permanent collection.
The free exhibit was curated by art history majors Nan Goff, ’07, and Amanda Doss, ’07, and it runs until June 29, 2008. For more information about exhibits at the Lora Robins Gallery and other University museums, visit www.museums.richmond.edu.
Bobby McFerrin will perform with Voicestra, his improvisational vocal orchestra, in Camp Concert Hall on March 2.
McFerrin is best known for his trademark song, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” but he is no one-hit wonder. He has won 10 Grammy Awards, and his recordings have sold more than 20 million copies. His collaborations with Yo-Yo Ma, Chick Corea, the Vienna Philharmonic, and Herbie Hancock have established him as an ambassador for both jazz and classical music.
“His greatest gift to his audience is converting them from spectators into celebrants and transforming a concert hall into a playground, a village center, a joyous space,” according to a review in The New York Times.
For more information about McFerrin’s upcoming performance and the Modlin Center’s 2007–08 season, visit modlin.richmond.edu.
Dr. Thomas Wren, professor of leadership studies, explores the tension between ruler and ruled in his latest book, Inventing Leadership: The Challenge of Democracy.
“Competing interpretations of this relationship lie at the bottom of much political discourse,” he says.
Wren traces the emergence of rulers, sovereign nations, and leadership that vests power in the people. He concludes with a proposed model of leadership for a modern democratic world.
An Introduction to a Vitalizing Dance Form: Contact Improvision. Cheryl Pallant, adjunct instructor of English. An explanation of contact improvision.
Moon Road: Poems 1986–2005. Ron Smith, R’71, G’74, and G’94, adjunct assistant professor. A book of poetry that touches on marriage, fatherhood, teaching, sports, and travel.
The Original Hot Five Recordings of Louis Armstrong. Dr. Gene Anderson, professor of music. A College of Music Society Sourcebook in American Music.
Virginia Tort and Personal Injury Law. Peter Swisher, professor of law, Robert Draim, L’79, and David Hudgins, L’80. A new legal treatise.
Digging up quarters and making repeated trips to the laundry room to check on washer and dryer loads are chores of the past for Richmond students.
A recent $75,000 project upgraded all campus laundry facilities to operate through e-Suds, an online laundry system. The system monitors availability and progress of machines, which students can check on the campus network.
Students who live on campus can swipe their identification cards to use the new machines. Other users still can deposit quarters. The system e-mails or text-messages students when each cycle finishes.
Dr. Con Beausang, associate professor of physics, is working with scientists across the country to develop a new gamma ray detector called GRETINA, the first stage in developing GRETA, which stands for gamma ray energy tracking array.
The scientists plan to spend $50 million to produce GRETA, which will be 100 to 1,000 times more powerful than the United States’ current gamma ray microscope, the Gammasphere.
Beausang and scientists from several other universities are collaborating on the project with colleagues at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, and the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory.
When GRETINA is completed in 2010, it will rotate among the national laboratories, helping the world’s leading physicists study the structure and properties of atomic nuclei by analyzing the gamma rays they emit when they are excited.
Beausang, who chairs UR’s physics department, is one of eight scientists on the GRETINA Advisory committee. He has been involved in the project since its inception in 1997.