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Commencement 2003
University holds 113th ceremony

More than 1,000 bachelor's degree candidates were honored on the Quadrangle during the 2003 spring Commencement ceremonies, May 16-17.

The bachelor's degree ceremony on May 17 included the presentation of the Herz Gold Medal, given to the graduating seniors with the most outstanding academic record while enrolled at the university. The medal has been awarded annually since 1910. Medalists were: Mark Dunagan, English; Jessica Escobar, dual major in anthropology and French; Jennifer Stafford, biochemistry; Ross Kohlmoos, engineering physics; and Jared Wagner, dual major in math and biochemistry.

Some 490 candidates for advanced degrees walked the stage during a separate Commencement ceremony on May 16.

"Commencement is always the best time of the year in our university community," President John Lilley said. "It's heartwarming to see the pride of parents and friends as they share the excitement of graduation day, and to know that these talented young people are ready to begin their careers as college-educated young men and women in our society."

Lilley conferred 1,053 bachelor's degrees before a standing-room-only crowd May 17 on the Quadrangle. During the previous day's advanced degree ceremony, he conferred 387 master's degrees and 93 doctor of philosophy degrees.

During the advanced degree ceremony on the Quad, honorary doctorates were awarded to former university president Joe Crowley and Nell J. Redfield Foundation director Gerald C. Smith. Former university system regent Dorothy Gallagher, her husband and longtime Elko dentist Dr. Thomas Gallagher, and the late Albert Abraham Michelson, Nevada's first Nobel Laureate, each were recognized for their contributions to the state with the Distinguished Nevadan Award.

Travis Linn, the first dean of the university's Reynolds School of Journalism, who died Jan. 17, was recognized posthumously with the President's Medal.

— Pat McDonnell


Collopy builds impressive research 'nest' in CABNR

Most of us drive to work and pass by telephone poles without even giving them a second thought.

Mike Collopy, professor and chair of the Department of Environmental and Resource Sciences in the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources, takes an entirely different approach.
From Collopy's perspective as a scientist studying golden eagles, telephone pole watching is second nature.

"It's very habit forming," Collopy says, smiling. "I think I've looked at every telephone pole in Reno. I drive along, and I just can't help it. You'd be surprised the kinds of birds or the numbers of birds you'll see."

For Collopy, such sightings can be the key to new research into the study of golden eagles and their effects on sage grouse, both integral parts of sagebrush ecosystems in Nevada.

"The issue is not just sage grouse, but it's eagles ... that depend on jackrabbits ... that depend on sagebrush," he says. "It's about conserving and restoring all aspects of the sagebrush ecosystem."

Collopy is involved with two studies with far-reaching implications not only for Nevada, but also for the West.

He is part of a study that recently found that young golden eagles migrating for the first time often don't return to their birthplace in Denali National Park and Preserve in central Alaska. The birds choose instead to summer in oil-rich coastal areas in the Arctic.

The four-year study is the first ever to track the migration routes of Alaska's golden eagles.

Collopy and Environmental and Resource Sciences colleague and wildlife expert James Sedinger are collaborating with Sierra Pacific, Nevada Bureau of Land Management, Nevada Agricultural Experiment Station, and Nevada Division of Wildlife to conduct a 10-year study of sage grouse and eagles along a 100-mile Sierra Pacific transmission line. The line, with construction beginning this past spring, will stretch from Carlin to Eureka through central Nevada.

— John Trent

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Guinn key speaker at Beta Gamma Sigma

Gov. Kenny Guinn paid a visit to campus on April 25 when he served as keynote speaker for the induction ceremony for the Nevada Chapter of Beta Gamma Sigma honor society. Guinn was also honored by Beta Gamma Sigma, the international honor society for students majoring in business. "These young people are to be commended for their excellence in the classroom and in a number of endeavors outside of the classroom," Guinn said of the College of Business Administration students who were honored. "They are the future leaders of the business world."

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Images of Tahoe available through library collection

There is a mystique, aura, and charm about the sparkling blue-green water of Lake Tahoe and its surroundings. For the many who depart reluctantly from the lake's shores, there is a new way to appreciate one of the American West's most vivid and most visited scenic landmarks.

The Special Collections Department in the University Libraries is receiving praise for its comprehensive digital photo archive, "Images of Lake Tahoe." The online collection (see link below), which appeals to both scholarly and general interest, features more than 120 images from the 1860s through the 1970s. There are nine searchable topics and 18 searchable locations, ranging from freight wagons traversing the Cave Rock road in 1864 or 1865 to aerial views of 1950s Tahoe City.

"We have about 200,000 images in our (complete) collection, and they've been acquired from many different sources, " says Bob Blesse, who directs Special Collections and the Black Rock Press in the Getchell Library. "One of the largest collections we have is the Gus Bundy Collection with about 100,000 images. Another significant collection is one we've received from James Herz with approximately 5,000 images. As far as the quality of images, he's given us photos that are worth $15,000 individually."

For a look at the collection visit: Images of Lake Tahoe: www.library.unr.edu/specoll/photoweb/tahoe

— Pat McDonnell

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Digital projects on the way

  • A partnership with the Nevada Humanities Committee, "Sagebrush Vernacular," 120 images from a statewide touring photo exhibit by Nevada photo students. Collaborators: Steve Davis (Nevada Humanities Committee) and professor Peter Goin (art department).
  • Lincoln Highway (U.S. 40), a developing collection of northern Nevada-themed images (many from the 1920s-era) featuring the first coast-to-coast paved highway.
  • Collection of Frederick DeLongchamps' complete architectural drawings (in partnership with the Nevada State Historic Preservation Office). DeLongchamps designed the Mackay Science Building on the University Quadrangle, the Washoe County Courthouse and the Riverside Hotel.

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Mackay under the lights in '03

Mackay Stadium will have a new look when the football season kicks off Aug. 30. Athletic director Chris Ault announced in May that the Pack's venerable home stadium will have lights installed this summer. Nevada will have three home night games this season: Aug. 30 against Southern Utah, SMU on Sept. 27 and UNLV on Oct. 4. Kickoff for all three contests will be at 7:05 p.m. The $258,000 project will be paid for by decreasing, over the next five years, Nevada's share of Western Athletic Conference annual revenue distributed to its members. "We are hopeful that this addition to our stadium will be a catalyst for increasing our attendance and, most notably, give us the opportunity to be considered for regional and national television appearances," Ault says.

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Newmont pledges $2.5 million to School of Mines

Newmont Mining Corporation announced in late March it has pledged $2.5 million to the Mackay School of Mines. The gift, to be paid in five annual donations of $500,000, will fund faculty positions, provide initial funding for an endowed professorship or chair in minerals engineering, support research, aid scholarships and student travel, assist K-12 science education, and provide discretionary support through the Mackay School Fund for Excellence. Richard M. Perry, vice president and managing director of Newmont Mining Corporation, announced the gift at an event on campus. "We hope that this gift will help to make Mackay and its programs even stronger," Perry, a Mackay graduate, said. "And we hope to inspire others to support the school in similar ways."
"I am especially grateful for Rich Perry's vision for the Mackay School and Newmont Mining Corporation's support of that vision," Nevada President John Lilley said. "This generous gift helps significantly in the university's plans to strengthen the Mackay School in its teaching, research, and outreach to the mining industry."

— Bob Bruce

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USAC grants faculty development awards

The University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC) recently awarded seven Faculty International Development Awards (FIDA) to university faculty and staff. These awards are designed to provide the opportunity to gain an in-depth knowledge of living and studying in another country in order to increase the internationalization of campus. FIDA awardees enroll as students for one month in their selected program. The following awards were granted:

  • Shannon Bennett, Admissions and Recruitment coordinator, San Sebastián, Spain
  • David Bobzien, campus webmaster, Santiago, Chile
  • Hillary Case, Counseling & Testing Center psychological assistant, San Sebastián, Spain
  • Charles Rose, Honors Program interim director and associate professor of chemistry, Heredia, Costa Rica
  • Mary Stewart, Women's Studies interim director and professor of sociology, Turin, Italy
  • Margaret Urie, Department of English undergraduate studies director, Pau, France
  • Lyle Woodward, Facilities Services director, San Sebastián, Spain.

— Kelly Corrigan

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Engineering receives $1.15 million

Nevada was selected as one of nine western universities to share in a $10 million commitment from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to improve the quality of engineering education and increase the number of engineering graduates. The university will be awarded $1.15 million over five years to broaden the scope of hands-on engineering courses for undergraduates. The program will also involve teachers-in-training in engineering courses so they can later take their experiences into the classroom. College of Engineering Dean Ted Batchman says that the grant "provides us with the resources necessary to make significant changes in our freshman curriculum, which will impact all of our students."

— Melanie Supersano

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Chemistry wins grant for high-tech crystallography machine

The National Science Foundation has awarded the Department of Chemistry $160,000 to purchase a new single-crystal, X-ray diffractometer that will allow chemists to collect data on the molecular structure of crystals far more accurately and far faster than with the department's current equipment. "It's a glorified robot," says Vince Catalano, associate professor of chemistry and principal investigator of the machine, acquired in March thanks to a $100,000 match provided by the Office of the Vice President for Research. The diffractometer will speed up data collection by a factor of about 84. "What used to take two weeks — with the data so poor it was perhaps not even publishable — will now take about four hours," he says. "And the data will be high quality — about 100 times better than before." The practical applications that may arise from the research include developing sensors that could detect a toxic gas, by turning a different color in the presence of the gas.

— Melanie Supersano

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Burleson taken in third round of NFL Draft

Burleson taken in third round of NFL Draft All-America wide receiver Nate Burleson was chosen by the Minnesota Vikings in the third round of the NFL Draft on April 26. Burleson, a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award, given to the nation's top collegiate receiver, was a three-year starter at Nevada. Burleson, who attended mini-camp with the Vikings shortly after the draft, has already made a big impression on his coaches. "He's a player that the offensive coaches really, really like a lot," Vikings head coach Mike Tice said. "He's played all three positions at Nevada and set some records. He's a very polished receiver coming out ... He's going to be competing for some time right away."

— John Trent

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Professor earns NSF Early Career award

Eric Marchand, assistant professor of civil engineering, has been selected to receive a $400,000 award over five years from the National Science Foundation's Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program for his proposal to research treatment and prevention of acid mine drainage, as well as integrate an outreach learning program for K-12 students.

Marchand, who was hired at Nevada in July 2000, won one of seven awards for environmental engineering out of 50-plus submitted nationwide this year. The award is open to untenured faculty who are early in their academic careers. The funding for his proposal, "Microbial-Based Engineering Approaches for Prevention and Treatment of Acid Mine Drainage: An Integrated Research and Education Plan," began in July.

On receiving this award, Marchand said: "It was huge. It really helps shape the early part of my career here. It adds a good research thrust for me to get involved in. Five years of funding on a project is very attractive — you get a lot of continuity."
Marchand earned a bachelor's of science degree in civil engineering in 1994 at Nevada. He also was awarded the top academic senior honor, the Herz Gold Medal, which is awarded each year to graduates with the highest grade point average earned from coursework taken at the University of Nevada, Reno.

— Melanie Supersano

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