The top scholars from each of Vanderbilt’s undergraduate and professional schools were honored with Founder’s Medals during Commencement on May 14. They are (l-r) Jennifer Roemer, School of Nursing; Eric Bilbrey, Owen Graduate School of Management; Andrew Jallouk, School of Engineering; Brandon Litzner, School of Medicine; Ryan Holt, law school; Lauren Smelser, divinity school; Johna Smith, Blair School of Music; Leslie Esbrook, College of Arts and Science; and Jessica Solomon, Peabody College of education and human development.
Michael Burcham, professor in the practice of management, has been named president of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center.
Cohen Memorial Hall has been recognized with a Preservation Award by the Metro Historical Commission.
Roger Cone, professor of molecular physiology and biophysics and chair of the department, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Cone’s research involves the hormone leptin and its role in maintaining a constant body weight.
David Ernst, professor of physics at Vanderbilt and an adjunct professor at Fisk University, has been appointed chair of the Liaison Committee for Under-Represented Minorities at the American Institute of Physics. Ernst co-founded the committee in 2007 and has served on it since its inception.
Stella M. Flores, assistant professor of public policy and higher education, has been named a National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow for 2010-11. The fellowship, administered by the NAE, is designed to enhance the future of education research by developing new talent.
Larry Isaac, Distinguished Professor of Sociology, has received the Southern Sociological Society’s Distinguished Lectureship Award in recognition of his excellence as a scholar and lecturer. Isaac also was awarded the Clifford Geertz Prize by the American Sociological Association’s Culture Section for 2008-09. It was awarded for “Movements, Aesthetics and Markets in Literary Change: Making the American Labor Problem Novel,” published in the December 2009 issue of American Sociological Review.
James Lawson, Distinguished Visiting Professor, was one of four honorees at the 39th annual Nashville Human Relations Awards. The organization raises awareness about bias, bigotry, racism and threats to human rights in the region.
Tommie Morton-Young, a Nashville activist, scholar and author, has received Peabody College’s Distinguished Alumna Award for 2010. Morton-Young earned her master of arts in library science in 1955, becoming the first African American to graduate from George Peabody College for Teachers, as it was then named.
Andy Norman, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology and a core faculty member of the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health, has been named to the Fulbright Specialist program.
Stephanie Pruitt, a 2010 master of fine arts in creative writing graduate, has been named one of “Forty Favorite Poets” by Essence magazine. Pruitt also received the 2010 Academy of American Poets Prize,
the 2009 Sedberry Prize, and was a finalist for Poets & Writers magazine’s Maureen Egen Award.
Bruce Roth, professor of medicine and urologic surgery at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, has received the American Society of Clinical Oncology Statesman Award.
Deborah Wells Rowe, associate professor of early childhood education, has received the Dina Feitelson Research Award from the International Reading Association for her paper “The Social Construction of Intentionality: Two-Year-Olds’ and Adults’ Participation at a Preschool Writing Center,” published in the journal Research in the Teaching of English.
Robert Scherrer, professor of physics and astronomy and chair of the department, has been awarded the 2010 Klopsteg Memorial Award by the American Association of Physics Teachers for his work as a published science fiction writer. The award was established in 1990 to recognize extraordinary accomplishments in communicating the excitement of physics to the general public.
Paul Sheldon, professor of physics, and a multi-institutional team that he leads have received a 2010 IDEA award from Internet2 for a networking system they have developed to make it easier to move and store digital data.
Matthew Springer, research assistant professor and director of the National Center on Performance Incentives at Vanderbilt, has been appointed a Fellow of the George W. Bush Institute, which focuses on education reform.
The Vanderbilt View received a Gold Award in the “Newsletter, Printed” category at the Tennessee College Public Relations Association’s 2010 spring conference held at Maryville College. Kara Furlong, associate editor of the View, received a Bronze Award for “Passing It Down,” a feature article appearing in the View’s February 2010 issue. Princine Lewis, Emily Pearce, Pat Slattery, Brian Smokler and Amy Wolf of the Vanderbilt News Service received a Gold Award for a VUCast newscast featuring a segment on conjoined twins in the “Radio/TV Show or Newscast” category.
Mathematician James Wesson dies
James Robert Wesson, professor of mathematics, emeritus, and the author of an influential algebra textbook, died April 25 in Nashville. He was 88.
“He was a terrific teacher and greatly loved by his students,” said Billy F. Bryant, professor of mathematics, emeritus. “He had a great sense of humor and also wrote a very good textbook (Lessons in Linear Algebra) that was widely used.”
Wesson earned his master’s and doctorate in mathematics at Vanderbilt after serving in the Army during World War II. After teaching at Birmingham-Southern College in the 1950s, he returned to Vanderbilt as an assistant professor in 1957. He received the Ellen Gregg Ingalls Award for excellence in classroom teaching in 1969, the Chancellor’s Cup in 1976 for “the greatest contribution outside the classroom to undergraduate student–faculty relationships,” and the Thomas Jefferson Award in 1981 “for distinguished service to Vanderbilt.”
Rising senior killed in New Jersey
Marcus Kyle Craig, a rising senior in the College of Arts and Science, died May 22 when he was struck by a passenger train in Sea Girt, N.J.
Craig was an active member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity and served as recruitment chair during the fall 2009 semester.
Funeral services were held May 27 in New Jersey. Grieving friends are encouraged to use the resources of the Psychological and Counseling Center (322-2571), the Office of Religious Life (322-2457), or the university’s GriefNet service (www.vanderbilt.edu/religiouslife/griefnet.htm).
Stephen Babalola received his ceremonial Ph.D. “hood” from his graduate advisers Arnold Burger and Leonard Feldman (far left) during the Graduate School’s Commencement ceremony May 14. Babalola, a doctoral graduate in materials science and engineering, is the first graduate of the Fisk-Vanderbilt Master’s-to-Ph.D. Bridge Program.
History professor awarded Guggenheim Fellowship
William Caferro, professor of history and an expert in medieval and Renaissance European history, has been named a 2010 Fellow by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.
Caferro is among 180 recipients in the United States and Canada selected for the highly coveted fellowship. Artists, scholars and scientists in all fields are eligible to apply for the fellowships, which are awarded on the basis of impressive achievement in the past and exceptional promise for future accomplishment. This year’s recipients were chosen from a group of more than 3,000 applicants.
Caferro will use the funding to complete a book project on the intersection of war, culture and economy in late medieval and Renaissance Italy, which was during the time of the Black Death. The research represents the culmination of his many years of work in Italian archives, he said.
Caferro teaches a variety of courses in European history, including upper-level courses in pre-modern European economic history and 14th-century English literature and history. He received his doctorate from Yale University and is a previous recipient of the Madison Sarratt Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching at Vanderbilt.
NBC pioneer places papers at Vanderbilt
The papers of Julian Goodman, an NBC broadcast pioneer who helped bring to life the network news programs we watch today, have been placed at Vanderbilt University Libraries’ Special Collections.
Goodman began at NBC as a correspondent in 1945 during the formative years of television news. His experiences provided a solid understanding of the business as he worked his way up to president, chief executive officer and chairman until his retirement in 1979.
Goodman oversaw the rise of one of America’s best-known anchor teams, David Brinkley and Chet Huntley. Other highlights of Goodman’s career include producing the second of the televised “great debates” between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon and overseeing NBC News’ coverage of several presidential conventions.
“Julian Goodman’s papers tell a remarkable story about the early days of television news,” Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos said. “We are pleased that scholars will access these archives at Vanderbilt as they research the fascinating history and business of American broadcasting.”
Goodman pioneered the television newsmagazine format with David Brinkley’s Journal during the early 1960s. At age 44, he became the youngest president in NBC’s history.
“The Goodman papers are one of the anchors of our growing holdings of news leaders and political figures who shaped the news and lived at the center of so many important events of our time,” Connie Vinita Dowell, dean of libraries, said. “Goodman’s archives are especially significant for us because their papers relate to and support the content of the Vanderbilt Television News Archive. All together, these print and media collections are a mark of distinction for Vanderbilt University.”
Family members young and old feted graduates at the annual Strawberries and Champaign Celebration following Commencement ceremonies on May 14.
IN THE NEWS
Research finds how cancer cells lose their rhythm
Immortality and uncontrolled cell division are the fundamental differences between cancer cells and normal cells. A widely held explanation for these differences is that the biological clocks in cancer cells are damaged and can’t regulate cell division in the fashion that they do in normal cells. This assumption is challenged by the results of the first experiment that has continuously monitored variations in the rate of cell division of cultured mammalian cells for extended periods. The experiment, led by Vanderbilt Research Professor of Biological Sciences Shin Yamazaki, discovered that one line of immortal (lab-created) cells have functioning biological clocks, but their internal clocks have no effect on the rate at which they divide and grow. “That is the paradigm-shifting aspect of our study,” said Julie Pendergast, a research associate. The results were reported in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Mobile app lets docs monitor patients during surgery
A new Vanderbilt University Medical Center application for mobile devices allows anesthesiologists and other clinicians to monitor patients, check vital signs, communicate with other providers and literally peer into operating rooms during surgeries all from the convenience of their cell phones. VigiVU, created for the iPhone by the VUMC Department of Anesthesiology, expands on an in-house desktop program called Vigilance to make the technology more portable and efficient. It keeps the clinician “in touch” when care locations are multiple and separate, with the ability to monitor up to four patients simultaneously. “It brings the functions of our desktop computer programs onto the mobile device. So, yes, ‘There’s an app for that, too,’” said anesthesiologist Brian Rothman, associate director of Perioperative Informatics.
Deadline to change ePasswords June 15
In order to enhance security and comply with federal audit requirements, Vanderbilt is now requiring all VUnetID holders to change their ePassword each year. The deadline this year is June 15. To change an ePassword, visit www.vanderbilt.edu/passwordchange and follow the instructions. Password changes sometimes take up to 15 minutes to propagate to all systems. For assistance, contact local technology support, the ITS Help Desk at 343-3999, or the VUMC Help Desk at 343-HELP.
Vanderbilt graduates, their friends and family members danced to the tunes of Felix Cavaliere’s Rascals during The Party May 12 on The Commons Center Lawn.