Maryland Moments, November 2006
(New Programs, Honors, Awards)
Both The Baltimore Sun and The Washington Post announce UM plans to develop a 36-acre parcel stretching along Paint Branch Parkway from Route 1. From the Sun: "Construction of a 38-acre 'college town' development at the University of Maryland, College Park could begin as early as summer 2008, officials said. The university hopes to select by February a private developer to transform an underutilized parcel of university land along U.S. 1 into a mixed-use town center, which could include a hotel, office space, market-rate housing, shopping and graduate student residences." The Post: "The developers hope to expand and upgrade College Park's options for shopping and dining. 'Everything that's around the university has to be at a certain level that's expected at a world-class institution,' said University of Maryland President C. Daniel Mote Jr. 'Frankly, the region around the university is not quite there. I think everybody would agree to that.'... 'You have this very large, very lucrative demographic with the population, in what may be the last under-retailed part of the Washington metropolitan area, so it's a very strong market,' said John Porcari, the university vice president in charge of the east campus redevelopment."
The Chronicle of Higher Education notes the major U.S. university development campaigns, "The 27 American universities that are seeking to raise at least $1-billion collected a total of $919.7-million in gifts and pledges during the last month for which they had data available.... Three new campaigns were announced in the past month, at Cornell University, Stanford University, and the University of Maryland, College Park.... The University of Maryland, College Park is seeking $1-billion by 2011. The university has already raised $312-million since the start of the campaign in 2004."
Maryland Congressmen and UM alumnus Steny Hoyer is selected House Majority Leader. The New York Times refers to his roots: "Steny Hamilton Hoyer was born on June 14, 1939, in New York to a family of Danish origin — his name is the diminutive of his father's, Steen. He once told a reporter that he and his wife, Judith, now deceased, became sweethearts when he asked her to join his slate of class officers in high school. He became serious about politics at the University of Maryland after hearing (John F.) Kennedy, a Massachusetts senator then campaigning for president, speak on campus."
Baltimore Examiner: "University of Maryland, College Park band director Richmond Sparks took his sons to New Orleans over the summer to build new homes in the budding Musicians' Village, a project conceived by Harry Connick Jr. and Branford Marsalis to encourage musicians to return to the city. Next month, Sparks will return to The Big Easy with his entire marching unit. Sparks shared photographs of his and his sons' experience with the Terrapin band at practices before this school year. The students were so moved by Sparks' stories and pictures of a still-devastated New Orleans, that on Jan. 5, 250 members of the university's marching band will load tools, musical instruments, work clothes, band uniforms and sleeping bags into five University of Maryland buses and roll south to aid Habitat for Humanity's effort to build houses for musicians displaced by Hurricane Katrina.
Reviews for The Race Beat, auhtored by UM journalism professor Gene Roberts and Hank Klibanoff of the Atlanta Journal-Contsitution are uniformly excellent. 'A History Well Worth Waiting For' is the conclusion of The Baltimore Sun. The New York Times criticizes itself for its coverage of the civil rights movement. " 'At no other time in U.S. history were the news media more influential than they were in the 1950s and 1960s,' argues The Race Beat, an important study of how journalists covered the civil rights movement. One might imagine that influence was all to the good, but Gene Roberts, a former managing editor at The New York Times, and Hank Klibanoff... describe here in richly instructive detail how, more often than not, the professional performance of both Southern newspapers and national beacons like The Times left much to be desired." From The Washington Post review: "Mostly, though, the journalists stuck to the facts, reporting and interpreting them thoroughly, fairly and honestly. As the years passed many of them became more and more sympathetic to the protesters whom they covered, but they kept their opinions and emotions to themselves unless they were commentators rather than reporters. They did us all -- their fellow journalists and their fellow Americans -- proud."
Thomas Lotze and Leiana Ridgeway received prestigious research awards from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security(DHS). Only 103 students nationwide from 60 institutions received the scholarships and fellowships. Lotze, a doctoral student in the Applied Mathematics and Scientific Computation Program will receive a fellowship for his research developing a better statistical way to spot disease outbreaks. Undergraduate psychology/family studies major, Leiana Ridgeway, received a scholarship to encourage her to pursue homeland security research. She got her first taste last year in one of the laboratories of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) based at Maryland.
UM entomology professor Earlene Armstrong was one of five African American scientists nominated for the first Banneker Legacy Award, given by the Benjamin Banneker Institute for Science and Technology "to honor those who have made significant contributions to increasing the number of African Americans in math and science," in this Year of Blacks in Science. In Nov. 17 ceremonies, which featured Bill Cosby as keynote speaker, Dr. Ben Carson of Johns Hopkins was named winner of the first annual Banneker award. Other nominees were Robert Howard, NASA; Njema Frazier, U.S. Department of Energy; and Isaiah Warner, Louisiana State University.
Gerrit-Jan Knaap, executive director of the UM's National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education, was awarded the 2006 "Outstanding Planner Award" by the Maryland chapter of the American Planning Association (APA). Knaap, a professor in the Urban Studies and Planning department within the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, was honored for his work as leader of a series of growth visioning exercises around Maryland known as Reality Check Plus.
Society & Culture
Maryland is one of five recipients of a Department of Homeland Security grant to create a Christian-Jewish-Muslim student dialogue group. Washington Jewish Week: "The group will be studied as part of research into 'the societal impact of terrorism,' said Kathleen Smarick, executive director of the College Park-based, and Homeland Security-funded, START: The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism. Smarick said that the project pivots off the theory that terrorism, often carried out in the name of religion, strains relations between religious groups and fosters resentments that can lead to further violence in the future."
The Washington Post announces the good news: "Puccini, Verdi and Rossini had Italy as a muse for their great operas. Jackie Dempsey and Steve O'Hearn have College Park. And they're loving it. Next week marks the debut of College Park: The Opera at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. Dempsey and O'Hearn, artistic directors of Squonk Opera, created the work for their 14-year-old troupe, which is based in Pittsburgh. And while U.S. 1 is no Venetian canal, O'Hearn says the home of the Terps provides plenty of artistic inspiration....Dempsey and O'Hearn made multiple trips to Maryland for their crash course in College Park culture. They filmed interviews with local characters, including a 6-year-old, the mayor, professors and Testudo, the University of Maryland mascot, clips of which play in the show. They're also incorporating four original dance routines by area students. College Park is the first installment of a national tour of Squonk Opera's [Your Town]: The Opera."
The Wall Street Journal beats the pack by pointing to research to be released by sociology professor Steven Martin. "According to census data, some 32% of men and 24% of women age 30 to 34 have never married--nearly a four-fold increase since 1970. Yet surveys since the middle of the 20th century consistently reveal that three-quarters of men and women report that a good marriage is 'extremely important' to them--and an even higher percentage report positive feelings about being married. That women are attaining higher levels of education is a major reason for this later-marriage trend.... In fact, increased education leads to better marriages and stronger families. College graduates are less likely to divorce--and more specifically, families with highly educated mothers are half as likely to split. So says an upcoming article in Demographic Research by Steven Martin... at the University of Maryland."
UM's Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement provided grist for the post-election media mill on how the youth vote went in the November election. Among them was The Washington Post: "Early returns from Tuesday's elections show that young people were particularly inspired to cast ballots, a result that drew cheers from voter activists. Two million more people under the age of 30 voted in the midterm elections than in 2002, according to an analysis by the University of Maryland's Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement. Twenty-four percent of those 18 to 29 who were eligible voted, the center concluded, up from 20 percent in 2002. The increase is the largest ever among young voters for midterm elections, and it dwarfed the 1 percent rise among the electorate overall from 2002 to 2006."
American Farmer: "A forum presented by the University of Maryland entitled, Land Use: Fundamentals of Development, will attempt to answer questions about growth and development on the Eastern Shore.... Growth expert John Frece (National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education) will provide a brief introduction to the planning process and citizen involvement. There is a growing appreciation that the Bay, its scenic rivers and ecosystems throughout the Eastern Shore are key to quality of life issues. To explain how these natural systems can be integrated into land use decision-making frameworks, watershed expert Hye Yeong Kwon will discuss 'Better Site Design.' To conclude the forum, Dr. Russell Brinsfield will share highlights, experiences and updates on planning and community involvement in the Town of Vienna....In addition to his role as mayor of Vienna, Md., Dr. Brinsfield is director of the University of Maryland Wye Research and Education Center, executive director of the Maryland Center for Agro-Ecology, Inc., and co-founder of the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy."
The Business Gazette: "University of Maryland study reveals challenges for survival in downtown Silver Spring.... Issues like rapidly rising rents, construction disruption and competition from larger, national chains can be a challenge for small businesses trying to adapt to the redeveloped downtown, said Marie Howland, a professor in urban studies at the University of Maryland, College Park, at a Nov. 15 Commercial and Economic Development committee meeting. The committee is part of the Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board."
Science & Technology
A NASA release is broadcast by the BBC: "The energy released by the II Pegasi star was equivalent to about 50 million trillion atomic bombs... If the Sun was ever to produce such an outburst, it would blast the Earth with radiation and almost certainly cause a mass extinction. Fortunately, there is no trace in the geologic record that our Sun has ever let go in this fashion, and Earth's magnetic field does a robust job of deflecting most of the high-energy particles and radiation our star will hurl at the planet in a normal flare. Nonetheless, researchers are keen to learn more about the type of 'super flares' seen by (NASA's) Swift (Mission), and the orbiting observatory's ability to turn its instruments rapidly on interesting cosmic events has revealed new data about the emission of X-rays in the earliest stages of this colossal phenomenon. Rachel Osten of the University of Maryland and the US space agency's Goddard Space Flight Center presented details of her team's Swift study to the Cool Stars 14 meeting in Pasadena, California."
The Maryland Industrial Partnerships program, overseen by the Clark School of Engineering, helps a Glen Burnie company, Phara LLC, develop unique homeland security research. Maryland Daily Record: "With UM, Pharad is developing a system that uses electromagnetic sensors to tell whether someone is armed and if so, what kind of weapon he is concealing... Pharad previously received a $750,000 DHS small business grant to develop the technology... K. J. Ray Liu, a professor in UM�s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Institute for Systems Research, is currently working on the mathematical programs the system will use to differentiate between weapons."
The Clark School of Engineering's Ed Link continues to play a key role in developing protection against hurricanes in New Orleans. The New Orleans Times-Picayune: "Under its (the Army Corps of Engineering's) tentative schedule, even limited additional armoring (of levees) isn't likely to be finished until the start of the 2010 hurricane season." Lack of competent research is hampering construction. "Among missing data are surge and wave estimates required to be certain the armoring is sufficient to repel a '100-year-storm,' the benchmark that the corps has been authorized to meet, but not exceed. The definition of a 100-year storm is not expected to be complete until early next year. 'Without a final, technically competent, fully blessed 100-year elevation, the corps can't finalize a plan,' said Ed Link, the University of Maryland senior research engineer who is directing the corps' forensic review of the levee failure."
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