Dr. Carol Parish, professor of chemistry, has received a $273,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to study shale oil—an energy source with huge reserves in the United States.
The oil—found in shale and sand—is more difficult and expensive to extract than light sweet crude, but as crude supplies have dwindled, interest in shale oil has increased.
The new Westhampton Center opened ahead of schedule in October, and the other major construction projects on campus are proceeding on schedule.
Westhampton Center includes the Deanery and a 6,000-square-foot addition that matches the architecture of the Deanery. It will be dedicated at a ceremony on April 10 during Reunion Weekend. The center is part of a $10 million project to provide new programs and opportunities for Westhampton women. About half that amount has been raised, including a significant grant from the Robins Foundation and gifts from more than 200 Westhampton alumnae and students.
The other major construction projects on campus are E. Claiborne Robins Stadium (shown above), Carole Weinstein International Center, and Queally Hall, a major addition to the Robins School of Business.
Fundraising for the $28 million stadium included a major gift from the Robins Foundation, a challenge grant from an anonymous donor, and a gift from Earl Dickinson Jr., R’75, to honor the memory of his father, Earl Dickinson Sr., R’48. The stadium will seat 8,700 people and is scheduled to open for the first home football game of the 2010 season in September.
The Carole Weinstein International Center is on track to open for the fall 2010 semester. The $20 million, 57,000-square-foot academic building is named in honor of former Trustee Carole Weinstein, W’75, G’77, H’04, a strong advocate of international education whose gift made the project possible.
Queally Hall is on schedule to open for the spring 2011 semester. The addition to the Robins School is named in honor of former Trustee Paul Queally, R’86, and his wife, Anne-Marie Flinn Queally, W’86, whose foundation made the lead gift toward the $19.4 million project. The 37,000-square-foot building will feature a 225-seat auditorium and a round tower named in honor of former Robins School Dean David Robbins and funded by Bob Jepson, B’64, GB’75, H’87.
The grant will fund the professor’s summer research and a full-time post-doctoral associate over three and a half years. The University is further supporting the research by funding travel, undergraduate researchers, and a computer cluster to sustain their intensive calculations.
Parish and her students are using computer models to study how the molecular constituents of shale oil would behave under high temperatures (pyrolysis) and how they would react with oxygen (combustion).
In late September, the University hosted a conference called “The Future of Richmond’s Past” to look for ways to help the city capitalize on its rich history.
President Edward Ayers moderated the event, which he described as “the first in a series of conversations about how we can best harness the history that we have and our own energies to do something remarkable for the city.”
The timing is excellent, according to the panelists, because of the ongoing sesquicentennial commemoration of the American Civil War. They also highlighted the need to tell Richmond’s stories of slavery. “The city has been really good at telling the stories of the things we are proud of,” said Rachel Flynn, the city’s director of community development. But “can we start to have a discussion about the parts that are painful? … I think our city is ready.”
Conference participants gave an overview of Richmond’s many historic attractions—ranging from the Museum of the Confederacy to the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia. The challenge, they concluded, is to work together to present Richmond’s history more fully and honestly.
“I think you are sitting on a gold mine,” said Lawrence Pijeaux, president and CEO of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. “I have been in many cities, but I have not been in one that has as many historic sites, historic markers, and groups and individuals who are involved in chronicling the broad-based history of a community.”
The Jepson Leadership Forum continues to explore tensions between individual and community, cooperation and competition, and regionalism and globalism with the following four programs in 2010.
On Jan. 27, Dr. Jesse Prinz will present “Living with Relativism: Can We Find a Common Good in a Morally Diverse World?” Prinz is distinguished professor of philosophy at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
On Feb. 17, Dr. Robert Cialdini will deliver “The Power of We.” Cialdini wrote Influence: Science and Practice and Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, which have sold 2 million copies and been published in 24 languages.
On March 2, there will be “A Community Conversation on the Common Good,” sponsored by the Jepson School of Leadership Studies, the Bonner Center for Civic Engagement, Leadership Metro Richmond, and LEADVirginia.
And in early April, during Reunion Weekend, the Jepson School and Westhampton College will present a program that will focus on women in leadership and philanthropy.
All programs are free and open to the public, although tickets may be required. For more information, visit jepson.richmond.edu.
The Bonner Center for Civic Engagement will host its sixth annual UniverCity Day on Jan. 23. The event will combine social and intellectual activities that introduce approximately 200 students—mostly first-year, exchange, and transfer students—to the city of Richmond.
Participants will choose among three themes—arts and culture, the environment, and education. Each theme includes a bus tour of cultural and historic sites in the city, a meal-time speaker, and an introduction to service opportunities in the city.
“UniverCity Day is what got me started with volunteering here at the University,” says Chris Lucas, ’10. “If I had to pick several crucial days in shaping my college career, UniverCity Day would be one of them.” Lucas visited the Hotchkiss Field Community Center in Northside Richmond on his UniverCity tour as a first-year student. He met Hotchkiss director Anthony Allen and became a youth baseball coach at Hotchkiss.
When NASA scientists wanted to find ways to help people better utilize the agency’s extensive climate-change data, they sought ideas from a variety of sources.
Academy Award-winning actor Tim Robbins, who starred in The Shawshank Redemption, Bull Durham, and Mystic River, conducted an acting workshop for dozens of Richmond students in September.
Robbins visited the Modlin Center with The Actors’ Gang, a theater company he founded 20 years ago in California. The Actors’ Gang presented two performances of The Trial of the Catonsville 9, based on the 1968 prosecution of nine Catholic activists whose civil disobedience galvanized protests against the Vietnam War
In a workshop before the second show, Robbins and other members of The Actors’ Gang introduced students to an improvisational style of acting that delves deeply into pure emotions such as anger, fear, happiness, and sadness.
“It’s the discipline of being in an emotion completely,” Robbins explained. “When you are on stage, you don’t mess around with half states of emotion. You have to commit.”
As actors approach states of pure emotion, they can discover truths organically that cannot be discovered intellectually, he asserted. “It is embedded in our DNA. There is physical memory in the genetic code. There has to be emotional memory, too.”
“How do you become a person who kills?” he asked. “It’s all about getting to that transformational moment when you actually become the character you are playing in the eyes of the audience.” The key to becoming a better actor is developing greater empathy for the human condition, Robbins concluded. “Have deep respect for your audience,” he added. “Assume they spent their last dollar to come to the theater.”
So Dr. David Kitchen and colleagues at other universities proposed a course they would create in modules that could be replicated throughout higher education, and their idea attracted a $150,000 grant from NASA’s Global Climate Change Education Program. Kitchen is a geologist and associate dean of the School of Continuing Studies (SCS).
He and his partners are developing course modules in their specialties that will be taught at each of their colleges beginning in spring 2010. Kitchen already teaches a climate-change course at Richmond to a class of undergraduates, adult students, and members of the Osher Institute for Lifelong Learning. The new course will be available to the same student populations.
Kitchen, who also is writing a textbook about climate change, says his contribution will be a module on ancient climates. Students will learn how the earth’s climate has changed during the past 60 million years by studying ice and rock cores, fossils, tree rings, and the chemistry of minerals.
The University is encouraging students, faculty, and staff to get out of cars and onto bicycles for cross-campus trips.
Members of the campus community now enjoy free use of 35 bikes strategically placed in racks throughout the University.
The bike program was the idea of students in the campus Sierra Club and RENEW (Richmond Environmental Network for Economic Willpower), which have merged to form Green UR. The group worked with Richmond’s recreation and wellness department to implement the program.
“The Richmond campus is very bikeable, and we just wanted to see more students out there on bikes, both for exercise and for the environment,” says Karen DeBonis, ’10, a member of Green UR.
The bikes reduce traffic and minimize the University’s carbon footprint, says Tom Roberts, director of recreation and wellness. “The program also supports the goals of the nationwide (college) Presidents’ Climate Commitment and encourages everyone in our campus community to live healthy, balanced lives.”
Dr. Cornelius Beausang, who chairs the physics department, has received a $110,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to conduct research on atomic nuclei that could help explain the nuclear processes of stars and assist with the design of nuclear reactors.
The grant, Beausang’s third from the energy department’s Stewardship Science Academic Alliances program, covers the first year of an expected three-year, $510,000 grant. His previous grants have totaled $1 million.
Beausang’s project will build on his research during the past six years, including measuring the probability of certain reactions happening when energized neutrons strike the nuclei of short-lived uranium isotopes and other radioactive elements.
Because isotopes like uranium 237 have very short half-lives, direct measurements of such reactions are nearly impossible. Instead, researchers use a surrogate reaction technique, which produces the same excited nuclei using more stable isotopes.
The award funds two or three Richmond undergraduate researchers, a graduate student from the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom, and a post-doctoral researcher—all based at Richmond. It also funds a group led by Deseree Meyer, assistant professor of physics at Rhodes College.
Dr. Emory “Ted” Bunn, associate professor of physics, has been awarded a five-year, $187,178 research grant from the Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Division of the National Science Foundation.
Bunn is investigating problems related to the design of the next generation of cosmic microwave background (CMB) polarization telescopes. He is focusing on improving scientific instruments, including interferometer CMB telescopes, that have not been studied as much as the more well-known single-dish telescopes. Bunn initially applied for a three-year grant, but the National Science Foundation approved a five-year award.
The grant is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. It will fund work by Bunn and student researchers during the summer, travel to professional conferences, and the cost of presenting findings.
Dr. Welford Taylor, R’59 and G’61, emeritus professor of English, has partnered with Parker Agelasto of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to produce a tiny book featuring prints from the miniature woodcuts of J.J. Lankes.
Pictured above from left to right, the Nuttycombe triplets—Sarah, Stephanie, and Meredith—never planned to attend the same University. It just worked out that way.
The fraternal triplets clearly value their individuality. They laugh about the last time they dressed to match—striped shirts on Valentine’s Day in the seventh grade.
Sarah and Stephanie graduated from Patrick Henry High School in Hanover County, while Meredith graduated from the Maggie Walker Governor’s School for Government and International Studies in Richmond. Sarah was the first to choose Richmond, primarily because the women’s track and field coach recruited her to compete in the triple jump.
“She has unbelievable leaping ability for someone so short,” Meredith says.
“I would say freakish leaping ability,” Stephanie adds
Their father started coaching Sarah in the triple jump when she was about 8 years old, and she has extended her distance beyond 37 feet. She also competes in the 100-meter hurdles and plans to major in international studies, business, English, or history. “I am pretty undecided,” she admits.
Stephanie, on the other hand, is focused on business, perhaps international business. Richmond’s highly rated Robins School is the main reason why she chose UR over Virginia Tech.
Meredith considered Virginia Tech and William and Mary, but she has been very happy with her decision to attend Richmond. She plays on the volleyball team and is undecided about a major.
“I was fine with going to the same school,” she says. “I didn’t see it as an advantage or disadvantage.” Stephanie and Sarah echo those sentiments, but they point out that the ability to share clothes has allowed them to essentially triple their wardrobes.
Lankes was perhaps the best miniature woodcut artist in the first half of the 20th century. Hundreds of his prints—miniature and otherwise—can be seen at the University’s Harnett Print Study Center. Lankes illustrated the works of several prominent American writers, including Robert Frost, who once said of the artist: “No man ever dug a better thing out of wood.”
The limited edition book is about three inches tall and two inches wide. It was printed on Lankes’ 1848 Hoe Washington press, which was donated to the University by Lankes’ son.
“There’s nothing better than having that press up and running,” says Richard Waller, executive director of University Museums.
Abigail Adams. Dr. Woody Holton, associate professor of history, highlights the entrepreneurial endeavors of America’s second first lady. Holton’s work on the book was supported by a fellowship from the prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.
The Hardy Space of a Slit Domain. Dr. William Ross, professor of mathematics, Alexandru Aleman, and Dr. Nathan Feldman have created a book in the Frontiers in Mathematics series for graduate students and professionals “with a reasonable knowledge of Hardy spaces of the disk and basic complex and functional analysis.”
Leading Change in Multiple Contexts: Concepts and Practices in Organizational, Community, Political, Social, and Global Change Settings. Dr. Gill Robinson Hickman, professor of leadership studies, provides theories and examples to help people lead change in a variety of settings.
Medieval Italy. Dr. Joanna Drell, associate professor of history, collaborated with colleagues at Catholic University and the University of St. Andrews to edit Medieval Italy: Texts in Translation. The book pulls together key primary sources for teaching the history of Italy’s Middle Ages.
Sherwood Anderson Remembered. Dr. Welford Taylor, R’59 and G’61, emeritus professor of English, paints a portrait of the ground-breaking and enigmatic author through reminiscences of Anderson’s friends and contemporaries.
Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo return to the Alice Jepson Theatre Jan. 19–20.
Dancing a fine line between high art and high camp, the all-male dance company parodies classical works from Giselle to Swan Lake. The Trocks’ last Richmond engagement sold out two performances in 2004, and the Modlin Center managers expect the same result in January.
Other Modlin Center performances this winter include the Band of the Irish Guards and the Royal Regiment of Scotland on Jan. 22 and the Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour on Feb. 23, both at the Carpenter Theatre in downtown Richmond.
For more information about Modlin Center events, visit modlin.richmond.edu.
The University has hired Michelle Wamsley as assistant vice president of foundation, corporate and government relations. She previously served as director of foundation and corporate relations for the University of Virginia Health System.
In more than a decade at Virginia, Wamsley provided direction for all health system foundation and corporate fundraising activities, led successful multimillion-dollar proposal teams, and created a comprehensive giving program for the health system’s patients and friends.
At Richmond, Wamsley will oversee an office that has secured more than $38 million in awards from foundations, corporations, and government agencies in the past five years. She will work closely with faculty members and deans to continue to grow academic funding.
“We are very excited to have Michelle join the University of Richmond,” says Tom Gutenberger, vice president of advancement. “She brings with her excellent experience working with foundations and corporations as well as an overall strong background in fundraising in higher education.”