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Engineering Win

Pitt beat Penn State and Drexel in 2001, ranking first in Pennsylvania in the number of African-American engineering graduates. Initiatives like the Engineering Impact Program and the Minority Engineering Mentoring Program secured Pitt’s national rank of third in African-American engineering doctorates

The Good Word
News Scoop

Pitt News has some good news to report. Editorial staffers of the student newspaper won eight 2002 Keystone Awards, handed out by the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association. Not to be outdone on the business side, the paper’s advertising and sales division won two awards from the College Newspaper Business and Advertising Managers.





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University News


Go For It


Climb as far as you can go to the highest public level of the Cathedral of Learning (36 stories is the limit without a key or a darn good reason), and there’s a feeling of accomplishment. The view is great, but more important, hoofing up all those stairs (huff, puff) makes a person feel (pant, wheeze) as if he or she has achieved something.

That said, few people would reach the top and cry, “Let’s do it again!”

Yet, Pitt’s fundraisers, having recently completed their own long, hard climb, are raring for another. The Board of Trustees on June 20 authorized the University to extend its development campaign until 2007, and double the goal to $1 billion. To quote one Pittsburgh newscaster that afternoon, “That’s a billion—with a ‘B!’”

Only 15 other US universities have announced plans to raise $1 billion or more.

Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg told the trustees it makes good sense to capitalize—no pun intended—on the University’s momentum. “The overall picture at Pitt today is about as exciting as it could be,” he said. “By setting what most would have considered to be ‘stretch goals,’ we have publicly proclaimed that this is an institution of high ambition.”

The capital campaign, called “Discover a World of Possibilities,” was publicly launched in 2000 with a goal of raising $500 million by July 2003. As of June 18, according to the University’s Office of Institutional Advancement, donations and pledges had exceeded the goal by more than $10 million, and more than a year early.

Of $510 million raised, $204 million came from foundations; another $71 million from corporations, and $66 million from other organizations. Ninety-nine donations were of $1 million or more. Not only was support for the campaign deep, it was broad. A total of 233,109 separate donations were collected, and the second-largest pool of donations, $169 million, came from individuals—alumni or friends of the University.

University officials say the “Discover” campaign will continue to focus on the creation of new scholarships and fellowships for students, along with endowed chairs and professorships to support work by faculty members.

—Jason Togyer

Making the Grade

Here's an idea: how well students do in school, starting with kindergar-ten, depends on how hard they work.

The Learning Research and Development Center's Institute for Learning believes effort can create ability. Denver public schools liked that idea. Administrators there have hired the institute to oversee its aca-demic program through the end of June. In announcing the $180,000 contract, School Superintendent Jerry Wartgow said the insti-tute provides “focused, inspiring leadership for principals and other administrators.”

Pitt°òs help comes at a critical time. Enroll-ment in the racially-diverse district rose to 72,439 students this term, up 10,000 students from the past decade. Hispanics comprise 55 percent, followed by whites and African-Americans, each about 20 percent. Since 1995, Pitt's institute has served as a design center for innovative professional development systems in schools nationwide.

—Kris B. Mamula

High Society


Sharae Bryant and Christopher Curd
That’s Sharaé M. Bryant spending a week in Cancun, Mexico, tutoring underprivileged children and teaching them about God. That’s Bryant again putting the finishing touches on the Little Black Book, a guidebook for African-American students at Pitt. And there’s Bryant staffing Freedom Corner, an information table in the William Pitt Union where students get information about jobs, career placement, tutoring, and more.

With that kind of involvement, it’s no surprise that Bryant, a junior business major, was among 93 students recently inducted into the Freedom Mentoring and Leadership Development Honor Society, the first honor society in Pitt history for minority students. She also was elected president and is among the society’s 15 “conductors,” named after the people who led slaves to freedom on the Civil War era Underground Railroad. The engine of today’s railroad is education, or more specifically, a push to keep minority students in school. Fewer than half of minority students finish their education at most public universities, a statistic Bryant hopes she can help change.

Consider financial aid, which is critical for many minority students. Students often fail to get the necessary forms turned in on time, which jeopardizes enrollment. Last year, though, saw a 65 percent increase in the timely filing of financial aid forms—thanks, in part, to Freedom Corner’s advocacy, says Bryant. Among the organization’s current projects is raising funds for the $10,000 Freedom Fund. Needy students one day will be able to tap the endowment for books and meals.

The society is working to receive a national charter, which would make it among the first nationally chartered honor societies for minority students.

—Kris B. Mamula

Novel Idea


The girl’s arm shoots up, high above the heads of her classmates. In the strongest voice an awkward middle schooler can muster, she says, “I live in the projects, and my mother is immaculate. She doesn’t even let me come on the porch with my shoes on!”

As Sharon Flake settles back into her office chair, a smile spreads across her face. She doesn’t remember the name of the school she visited to promote her award-winning book, Money Hungry. But she does remember the girl who was proud of her background.

In a world saturated with tuna surprise lunches and geography quizzes, Flake is a celebrity. The publications director at the Katz Graduate School of Business is kind of a John Grisham for the preteens.

And the children are her staunchest critics. They demand to know what happens to the novel’s 13-year-old heroine, Raspberry Hill (“a hustler of sorts,” Flake says), after Hill and her single mother move out of the projects and into a middle-class neighborhood. What happens to her best friends—Ja’nae, Mai, and Zora? And, most important, will there be a sequel?

Answering question after question is a dizzying experience for Flake, but the children’s interest makes it all worthwhile—even more satisfying, she says, than winning awards. The book was this year’s John Steptoe Honor Book, which is an annual presentation by the American Library Association’s Coretta Scott King awards. The national recognition comes three years after she won the association’s award for new talent for her book, The Skin I’m In.

—Diana Moffo

Silent No More


In the late ’50s, Canadian geese, cranes, and other birds that inhabit Cape Cod were dying out. No one knew why until Rachel Carson, an environmentalist who relished nature working in synch, solved the mystery. It was the pesticide DDT, which many thought was the answer to annoying pests. Carson wrote Silent Spring, the landmark book published in 1962, which described how pesticides contaminated the food chain, potentially silencing life forever.

Attilio Favorini, chair of the Department of Theatre Arts, and Lynne Conner, an assistant professor in theatre, wrote a play about Carson’s life and her influential book. In the Garden of the Live Flower garnered this year’s David Mark Cohen National Playwriting Award, which is supported, in part, by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.

The play made its world premiere at the University of Pittsburgh Repertory Theatre last year. It explores the complexities of Carson’s life and her struggle with the book. Carson’s creative use of fictional techniques and her feminist approach caused many to attack her scientific examination of DDT.

The duo is thrilled with the award and the chance to tell Carson’s story. Along with receiving a $1,000 cash prize, the play was read at the National Conference of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education’s meeting in San Diego, and Dramatic Publishing Company will publish, license, and market the award-winning work.

—Meghan Holohan

Top Vol


 John Shumaker
A nervous teenager glances at the building towering in front of him. He carries a briefcase and he wears his high school National Honor Society pin.

It’s August 1960. John Kennedy and Richard Nixon are in the throes of a fiercely contested presidential campaign. The Pittsburgh Pirates are on

Here’s an idea: how well students do in school, starting with kindergarten, depends on how hard they work.

The Learning Research and Development Center’s Institute for Learning believes effort can create ability. Denver public schools liked that idea. Administrators there have hired the institute to oversee its academic program through the end of June. In announcing the $180,000 contract, School Superintendent Jerry Wartgow said the institute provides “focused, inspiring leadership for principals and other administrators.”

Pitt’s help comes at a critical time. Enrollment in the racially-diverse district rose to 72,439 students this term, up 10,000 students from the past decade. Hispanics comprise 55 percent, followed by whites and African-Americans, each about 20 percent.

Since 1995, Pitt’s institute has served as a design center for innovative professional development systems in schools nationwide.

—Kris B. Mamula

Streaking

Heading into this fall’s football season, three teams are tied for the second longest winning streak in Division I-A: South Florida, Louisiana State, and our own Blue & Gold. Each team has won its past six games. Miami, with 22 wins, has the longest winning streak, though Pitt will have something to say about that on November 21.

Campus Newsmakers

Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg is doing much more than minding his own business. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette named Nordenberg and Jared Cohon, Carnegie Mellon University’s president, the region’s sixth-most influential executives. They were honored for creating Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse, a non-profit corporation that raises money to attract new biotechnology companies and researchers to Western Pennsylvania.

Honor Roll

E J Josey—author of 400 articles and 12 books, who has two minority scholarships named after him, and who is the recipient of countless awards—was named an honorary member of the American Library Association. Pitt’s emeritus professor of library and information science was the first male African-American president of the ALA, and now is honored along with the likes of Oprah Winfrey for his contributions.

Cynthia Coburn impressed the American Education Research Association with her work Making Sense of Reading: Logics of Reading in the Institutional Environment and the Classroom. Pitt’s new assistant education professor and research scientist earned the association’s Dissertation Award in its premier year.

Recently retired Dean of Information Sciences Toni Carbo has been very busy. The faculty member traveled to Monaco for the first UNESCO Infoethics Conference, advised the President and Congress in the US National Commission on Libraries and Information Science, and won awards from various library associations. The Association of Library and Information Science Education recently highlighted her numerous achievements with the Professional Contribution Award.

The Conference of Minority Public Administrators found their trailblazer in Harvey L. White, Pitt’s graduate school associate professor of public affairs and international development. White received the Trailblazer award, in part, for increasing minority participation in public service, founding scholarships for students, working for environmental justice, and leading international conferences.

—Misty Frey

Research Periscope


Forget barcodes, in the future retail tags will be so small you probably won’t notice them. 2.2 millimeters square (and shrinking) is the size of the Product Emitting Numbering Identification Tag, researched by Pitt engineering professor Marlin Mickle and former Pitt professor Richard Billo. They’ve incorporated an antenna onto a chip that relays information to a base receiver, making checkout problems disappear. This technology also promises endeavors into anticounterfeit technology and biofeedback for epilepsy sufferers and heart patients.

Pitt's desire to increase participation in international education by underrepresented groups turned into a $75,000 project for the Center for International Studies, funded by the National Security Education Program. The project targets underrepresented racial groups, students with disabilities, and underrepresented disciplines such as engiineering, math, and computer sciences. The plan includes an analysis of current programs, the creation of student and parent resource guides, and models of overseas study.


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