Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist gave a talk titled “Celebrating Life, Mourning Death: Continuing the Fight Against Global AIDS” on Dec. 1 at the Student Life Center to mark World AIDS Day. Frist, an assistant professor of cardiac surgery at Vanderbilt, founded the nonprofit Hope Through Healing Hands, which promotes improved quality of life around the world through the idea that health care can be a currency for peace.
Justin Albright, Tim Kilroy, Peter Kleinberg, Gavin McDowell, Johnny Shoaf and Stephen Songy, a team of students from Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management, placed second in the University of Texas at Austin National Real Estate Challenge. The Vanderbilt team advanced to the finals for the second time in two years and won $3,000 in the prestigious MBA case competition.
Michael Brown has been named associate director of the Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex Life at Vanderbilt. Brown joins Vanderbilt from Washington University in St. Louis, where he was the coordinator for LGBT Student Involvement and Leadership for the past two years.
The Department of Economics has been named to an honor roll of universities with full female professors in economics compiled by the Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession of the American Economic Association. The recognition signifies Vanderbilt’s commitment to recruiting and retaining senior female faculty in economics.
Cindy Graham, executive secretary for the vice chancellor for public affairs, has been named program coordinator at Vanderbilt Dyer Observatory.
Anna Guest-Jelley has been named associate director of the Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center at Vanderbilt. Guest-Jelley joins Vanderbilt from Gainesville, Fla., where she directed the violence prevention program at Peaceful Paths Domestic Abuse Network.
Capt. James “Jamie” Hopkins has assumed command of Vanderbilt’s Naval ROTC unit. A native of Oak Ridge, Tenn., Hopkins most recently served a one-year tour in Iraq as a senior military adviser working closely with the Iraqi Navy to develop a regional maritime security force.
Kayti Protos has been named program coordinator of the Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center at Vanderbilt. A Vanderbilt alumna, Protos joins the university from Canton, N.Y., where she was director of St. Lawrence University’s advocates program, a grant-based effort dedicated to supporting survivors of sexual violence and promoting prevention and intervention-based programming.
Thomas Alan Schwartz, professor of history, has co-edited The Strained Alliance: U.S.-European Relations from Nixon to Carter, published by Cambridge University Press. Matthias Schulz of the University of Geneva is co-editor. The collection of essays is based on a 2004 conference at Vanderbilt titled “The Atlantic Community Unraveling?”
The Vanderbilt News Service has received four MidSouth Regional Emmy nominations for excellence in television/video. Pat Slattery and Amy Wolf were nominated in the Continuing Coverage category for the VUCast segment “Conjoined Twins.” Slattery and Emily Pearce were nominated in the Documentary Topical category for “Taylor Stokes: Finishing Well.” Pearce was nominated in the Writer Programs category for “Taylor Stokes: Finishing Well.” And Slattery was nominated in the Photography Programs category for “ESPN Gameday.”
The Curb Center for Art, Enterprise and Public Policy at Vanderbilt celebrated its grand opening and dedication on Dec. 2. Pictured (l-r) are Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos; Bill Ivey, director of the Curb Center; music industry executive Mike Curb, the center’s patron; and Rocco Landesman, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.
Renowned linguist dies
Walburga von Raffler-Engel, a widely published linguistics expert who taught at Vanderbilt for two decades, died Nov. 28 in San Antonio. She was 89.
Von Raffler-Engel spoke eight languages. Her specialties included nonverbal communication and she coined the term “developmental kinesics” for her study of how children acquire nonverbal behavior. She organized the first congress on child language, held in 1972 at the Tuscan Academy in Florence, Italy.
She published 13 books and more than 500 articles and spoke at conferences across the globe. She came to Vanderbilt in 1965 and retired in 1986 with the title of professor of linguistics, emerita.
After her retirement, von Raffler-Engel served as a senior research associate at the Vanderbilt Institute for Public Policy Studies.
Born in Munich, Germany, on Sept. 25, 1920, much of von Raffler-Engel’s family was killed in concentration camps during World War II. She escaped to Italy and joined the resistance. Her missions included transporting messages, food and weapons. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., has documented von Raffler-Engel’s wartime adventures in its archives.
Nashville-based costumer Manuel (right), who created iconic looks for Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, The Beatles and a host of other performers, spoke to Blair School of Music Senior Lecturer Jen Gunderman’s History of Rock class in Sarratt Cinema Dec. 8.
Jenious named director of ODC
Anita Jenious has been named director of the Opportunity Development Center at Vanderbilt after serving as the interim director for two years. The appointment comes after an extensive search.
“Our search committee determined that Anita was the best candidate,” said Jerry G. Fife, vice chancellor for administration.
The ODC is Vanderbilt’s equal opportunity, affirmative action and disability services office, charged with the interpretation, understanding and application of federal and state laws that impose special obligations in the areas of equal opportunity and affirmative action. Jenious also serves as Vanderbilt’s Title VI, Title IX and ADA coordinator.
A graduate of the University of Tennessee School of Law and a Vanderbilt alumna, Jenious began her career at Vanderbilt before moving to the University of Pennsylvania and Tennessee State University. She returned to Vanderbilt in 1999. She is a member of the American Association of Affirmative Action, and she serves on the board of the National Industry Liaison Group, an organization of federal contractors who voluntarily work with the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs to implement the best possible practices to ensure compliance with relevant federal regulations.
August Johnson (left), who works in Plant Operations, received a turkey from Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos at the annual Employee Turkey Giveaway on Dec. 18 at Langford Auditorium.
In the News
Soy linked to decreased risk of breast cancer
Researchers at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, led by Professor of Medicine Xiao Ou Shu, have found that a higher intake of soy foods was associated with a lower risk of death and breast cancer recurrence among patients in China. The study is published in the Dec. 9 issue of JAMA. “Soy foods are rich in isoflavones, (which) … have been hypothesized to reduce the risk of breast cancer. However, the estrogen-like effect of isoflavones and the potential interaction between isoflavones and (the cancer treatment drug) tamoxifen have led to concern about soy food consumption among breast cancer patients,” the authors wrote. Shu and her colleagues analyzed data from the Shanghai Breast Cancer Survival Study, a large population-based study of 5,042 female breast cancer survivors in China, which VUMC and the Shanghai Institute of Preventive Medicine has carried out since 2001. “We found that women in the highest soy food intake groups had the lowest mortality and recurrence rates compared with women in the lowest soy food intake group, regardless of tamoxifen use status,” Shu said.
VU hospitals named to Leapfrog list
Vanderbilt University Hospital and the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt both have been recognized among the nation’s 45 “Leapfrog Top Hospitals” for 2009. The Leapfrog Group is a consortium of large companies and public employers that provide health benefits to more than 37 million consumers nationwide. The consortium’s mission is “to trigger giant leaps forward in the safety, quality and affordability of health care.” Their top hospitals list is based on an annual safety and quality survey, which this year took in 1,206 hospitals. VUH and the children’s hospital were the only Tennessee hospitals on this year’s list. “This important recognition from Leapfrog goes to our hospital staff and clinicians for their skill, diligence and dedication,” said C. Wright Pinson, deputy vice chancellor for health affairs. “As we all seek to further Vanderbilt’s commitment to patient care safety and quality, it can only spur our efforts to know that outside groups are taking such a close interest and have found our hospital care to be exemplary.”
VU launches new Commencement Web site
Vanderbilt is gearing up for spring with the launch of its new Commencement Web site, www.vanderbilt.edu/commencement. The site features a new look and more information about the university’s three days of Commencement activities, including The Party on May 12, 2010, Senior Day on May 13, and Commencement on May 14. This year’s party for graduates, their friends and families will feature music by Felix Cavaliere’s Rascals. Kite Runner author Khaled Hosseini will deliver the Senior Day address, and in keeping with Vanderbilt tradition, Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos will deliver the university’s Commencement address. Graduates and their families also can get an early start on ordering tickets for The Party, caps and gowns, graduation announcements and keepsakes. Online ordering for these items is available now. Other new features of the site include improved maps to help visitors navigate campus, and a text messaging service to which graduates, guests and area businesses can subscribe to receive weather and change-of-location updates. To register, visit
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compiled by Kara Furlong