May 2007 News Releases

Wednesday May 30, 2007
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Orientation sessions to attract nearly 2,000 students to Marshall

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Nearly 2,000 incoming Marshall University students are expected to attend a series of orientation sessions this summer beginning in June.

University officials say the day-long sessions, filled with a variety of topics, are essential for easing first-time college fears experienced by parents and students.

"The main purpose of orientation is to allow all incoming students the opportunity to experience campus life before the start of the fall semester," said Jean Marie Gilman, director of recruitment at Marshall University.  "Students can visit campus buildings, discover extracurricular activities, meet new people and, most importantly, register for classes and meet with their academic advisors."

Dr. Sarah Denman, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, said orientation is the true beginning of the college experience.

"In a sense, the student and the institution are affirming the decision to attend Marshall University is the right one," Denman said. "Orientation is the beginning of the pathway that connects the new student to everyone on campus." 

Orientation sessions for students include academic advising, residence hall tours, a student services tour, a question and answer session, safety on campus issues and various other topics.   The sessions for parents include time with financial aid advisors, student services staff, campus safety issues and other academic and financial topics.

Orientation sessions are scheduled as follows:

  • June 20-21: Orientation for honors students only
  • June 22-23: Open to all students
  • June 25-29: (June 27 is for transfer students and June 28 for Marshall    Community and Technical College)
  • July 24-26: Open to all students
  • Aug. 16: Open to all students.

All programs run from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.   Students who have been admitted to Marshall University are encouraged to register for an orientation session.  This may be done either on line at  or by calling the orientation office at (304) 696-2354 or (800) 438-5392.

Gilman, in her first year at Marshall as director of recruitment, said she is excited at the prospect of meeting Marshall's newest students and their families.  

"It's a great feeling to see the students that we have recruited all year come to campus and becoming members of the Marshall family," she said. 

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Tuesday May 29, 2007
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Yeager Scholars Class of 2011 selected

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Eleven students will begin their studies at Marshall University this fall as the newest members of the Society of Yeager Scholars.

The society is named for West Virginia native Ret. Brigadier General Charles E. "Chuck" Yeager, who piloted the first plane to break the sound barrier. This fall marks the 20th anniversary of the Yeager Scholars' first incoming class.

The 11 students were selected for their high aptitude test scores, excellent grades, interpersonal and communication skills, readiness to accept and meet challenges, and leadership potential.

They will join 29 other Yeager Scholars already on campus. Along with these students, they will participate in special interdisciplinary seminars and extracurricular activities designed to promote intellectual development and foster emerging leadership skills.

As Yeager Scholars, they are required to maintain a rigorous course load with a 3.5 GPA and participate in campus and community activities. Each also will have the opportunity to study literature, political science or history at Oxford University in the summer after their sophomore year, and will have another opportunity for study abroad in a program related to his or her major and/or foreign language minor.   

Competition for these scholarships was keen, with students applying from as far away as Michigan and Florida. The 11 students chosen were selected through three levels of review: examination of their applications and two interviews - one by local interviewers near their homes, and one by a panel of interviewers on the Marshall University Huntington campus.

The decision on selection of the 11 scholars was the result of hundreds of hours of work by many different people - university faculty and staff, university alumni, Society of Yeager Scholars Board members and community members.

"We are in the enviable and difficult position of having a very talented and deep applicant pool. It is very hard to select only eleven," said Dr. Barry Sharpe, Executive Director of Marshall's John R. Hall Center for Academic Excellence. "They are an impressive group with exemplary academic records and strong indicators of leadership potential."

This group of scholars has a wide variety of academic interests, as does each year's entering scholars. While they were on campus for interviews in early March, they talked with professors about possible majors, such as biology, chemistry, English, history, journalism, music, nursing, political science and theater. Like many honors students, some of these scholars will end up with more than one major.

The following students were chosen as the Yeager Scholars Class of 2011:

Ennis Ayla Barbery of Athens, W.Va. Barbery will graduate from PikeView High School and is interested in a career in journalism or law.

Laci Breanne Browning of Pineville, W.Va. Browning will graduate from Wyoming County East High School. She plans to major in biology and study medicine after graduation from college.

Brianna Cathleen Dickerson of Virginia Beach, Va. Dickerson will graduate from Princess Anne High School. She plans to major in psychology and pursue a career as a forensic investigator.

Elizabeth Anne Fleming of South Bend, Ind. Fleming will graduate from John Adams High School. She will play for the Marshall University volleyball team and plans to major in international affairs. She also would like to pursue a career as a United States Foreign Service Officer.

Rylee Grace Genseal of Sevierville, Tenn. Genseal will graduate from Gatlinburg-Pittman High School. She is planning to study medicine and serve as a general physician or pediatric oncologist.

Henry David Heisey of Worthington, Ohio. Heisey will graduate from Thomas Worthington High School. He plans to major in nursing and pursue a career in medicine or the health professions.

Megan Nicole Hunt of Ravenswood, W.Va. Hunt will graduate from South Charleston High School and plans to major in biochemistry and music. Her career interests include medical research and musical performance.

Sarah Elizabeth Ison of Greenup, Ky. Ison will graduate from Russell High School. Ison plans to major in biology and Spanish. Her career interests include medicine and veterinary medicine.

Ellen Kastner Moore of Knoxville, Tenn. Moore will graduate from Knoxville Catholic High School. She will play for the Marshall University women's tennis team and plans to major in biology in preparation for medical school or a career in the health sciences.

Margaret Maryann Stephens of Leon, W.Va. Stephens will graduate from Point Pleasant High School. She plans to major in biology and study medicine after graduation from college.

Zachary Dane Woods of Newnan, Ga. Woods will graduate from Northgate High School and plans to major in international affairs. He is interested in a career in government service.

For information about the Society of Yeager Scholars, contact Dr. Barry Sharpe, Executive Director, John R. Hall Center for Academic Excellence, by calling (304) 696-2475 or via e-mail, Photos of each member of the Yeager Class of 2011 are available


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Friday May 25, 2007
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

'Rendering the Landscape' students to present their work at MU

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Students from Marshall University's joint Art-English course "Rendering the Landscape" will present their work at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 31, at the Birke Art Gallery in Smith Hall on Marshall's Huntington campus.

The class brings writers and visual artists together to explore ways of representing landscape in all its manifestations - especially as a way of seeing the natural world.

Students and faculty spent a week at West Virginia State Park Twin Falls near Beckley, W.Va., staying in cabins, hiking the trails, identifying birds and other wildlife, and creating art.  The reading and art opening will feature works that originated from that experience, including drawings, photographs, poems, stories and more.

For more information contact John Van Kirk at (304) 696-6637 or via e-mail at, or Emily Ritchey at (304) 696-2296 or via e-mail at

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Friday May 25, 2007
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

MU professor Jean Edward Smith's biography of FDR published

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - FDR, a comprehensive biography of Franklin Delano Roosevelt by Marshall University professor Jean Edward Smith, was published last week by Random House.

Smith, who was one of three finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for his biography of Ulysses Grant, will present a lecture on FDR at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 5 at the Huntington Museum of Art. A reception and book signing will follow. Admission is free and everyone is welcome. Copies of the book will be available for sale in The Museum Shop.

Pre-publication reviews of FDR, an 880-page hardcover book, were ecstatic.

Publishers Weekly, in a boxed, starred review (its highest category), called FDR "a magisterial biography." Smith's "eloquent synthesis of FDR's complex and compelling life is remarkably executed and a joy to read," the review said.

Library Journal, in another starred review, labeled FDR "essential." "This page-turner is the best single volume biography available of America's 32nd president," it said.  

Kirkus Reviews also gave FDR a star and said, "An outstanding biography of 'the most gifted American statesman of the twentieth century'."

Other reviewers have been equally enthusiastic. John Meacham of Newsweek, author of Franklin and Winston, called FDR "a towering new biography." Syndicated columnist George Will wrote, "Jean Edward Smith, author of acclaimed biographies of John Marshall, the definer of the nation, and Ulysses Grant, whose sword saved the nation, now provides this study of Franklin Roosevelt, reviver of the nation. It will secure Smith's standing as today's foremost biographer of formidable figures in American history."

Random House apparently shares that view. It ordered a first printing of 75,000 copies - almost unprecedented for a scholarly biography.

Professor Smith said he remains cautious. "The Sunday New York Times has not yet printed its review, although it will soon," Smith said. "Until then, all bets are off."

For more information, call Jackie Dewald, program assistant with the Drinko Academy at Marshall University, at (304) 696-3183.

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Thursday May 24, 2007
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

More street, lane closures planned as church demolition continues

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - All lanes on 20th Street from 3rd Avenue to 5th Avenue in Huntington will be closed from 11 p.m. Tuesday, May 29 to 7 a.m. Wednesday, May 30 because of continuing demolition of the 20th Street Baptist Church, Jim Terry, Marshall University's director of public safety, announced today.

In addition, Terry said, the left three lanes of 5th Avenue from 19th Street to 20th Street also will be closed during that time. Only the right, or south, lane will be open during the eight-hour span.

Demolition of the church and the ensuing cleanup began Tuesday and is expected to take about 45 days. A Marshall University student recreation center will be built on the site.

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Thursday May 24, 2007
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Marshall University's Rahall Transportation Institute presents Rail-SORCE Partnership Award to CSX

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall University has selected John West, president of CSX Technology, as the first recipient of the Rail-SORCE (Railroad Safety and Operations Research Center of Excellence) Partnership Award.

Robert Plymale, director of the Rahall Transportation Institute (RTI) at Marshall University, announced the award today.

Rail-SORCE was established at the Rahall Transportation Institute at Marshall about a year ago to formalize industrial advisory and participation in research grants from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).

The award, created by RTI, recognizes outstanding contributions made by CSX Corporation and its subsidiaries ("CSX") in the furtherance of research conducted by the institute through its Rail-SORCE Advisory Board.  Most notable was subsidiary CSX Transportation's use of the Institute's R-Surveying Solution for use in hump yard engineering.

"It is with great pride that today we recognize CSX and its partnership with the Rahall Transportation Institute and Marshall University, which is furthering the development of new technologies for the rail industry," said Congressman Nick J. Rahall, for whom the Institute is named. "By revamping the way we evaluate the safety of our central hubs, RTI and CSX, with the help of Sen. Robert C. Byrd, are laying down the track-work towards a more secure, more efficient and faster railway. The emphasis on developing strong private-public partnerships between RTI and industry leaders was a founding vision of the Institute and today we celebrate that accomplishment."

Marshall University President Stephen J. Kopp said the university "is proud to recognize the ongoing support and collaboration by the entire CSX team along with the personal contributions by CSX  Technology president, John West."

"With John's help the institute has had access to and use of CSX resources to conduct field tests which are a critical step in the evolution of any promising technology," Kopp said.

West said the partnership with the Rahall Transportation Institute at Marshall University is important to CSX.

"I and the entire CSX team are proud to accept it," West said of the award. "Advancing the research and development of technologies that solve railroading challenges will provide many benefits to CSX and the entire industry. For example, RTI has developed with our assistance an automated surveying tool for use in yards and rail corridors that is faster, cheaper and safer than the traditional methods of surveying the rail infrastructure.  We now use this tool at CSX Transportation."

The Rahall Transportation Institute at Marshall University is one of 12 National Transportation Institutes created by Congress in 1998.  RTI formed the Rail-SORCE Advisory Board in 2006 as a vehicle to engage with our nation's railroads and to seek their input and cooperation in research and development.

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Wednesday May 23, 2007
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Two Fundraisers hired at Marshall University

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - John Kinzer, Interim Chief Executive Officer of the Marshall University Foundation, Inc., today announced the hiring of two fundraisers.

Cory Dennison, a long snapper on Marshall's 2002 GMAC Bowl championship football team and a Cum Laude graduate of MU with a degree in political science, was hired as a Development Officer with the Marshall University Foundation. He reports to Rebecca Samples, Director of Annual Giving at Marshall University.

Larry Templeton, an adjunct professor the past two years in Marshall's College of Education and Human Services, was named Director of Development in the Lewis College of Business. He reports to Lance West, Vice President for Major Gifts at Marshall University.

Both Dennison and Templeton already are serving in their new positions.

"Cory is full of energy and enthusiasm," Kinzer said. "He relates well and will make a great fundraiser."

Dennison also is a former student body Vice President at Marshall and two-year member of the MU Board of Governors, in which he served as the student representative. He is a 2006 graduate of the West Virginia University College of Law, and has worked in the West Virginia Senate and with the Tyson and Tyson law firm in Huntington.

"I am really excited to have the opportunity to come back and work for my alma mater," Dennison said. "It is a great opportunity to help the university continue to grow."

Templeton is a 1974 graduate of Eastern Oregon University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in marketing. He was a high school teacher for 16 years and later served as Superintendent of Schools in three districts in Illinois.

"Larry brings a level of experience, maturity and understanding of business fundamentals that made him the obvious choice for this position," College of Business Dean Paul Uselding said. "At the level we want to operate there is a complex set of relationships among people and programs.  I think Larry will quickly learn this complex interplay and bring his own unique creativity and ideas to the Lewis College of Business."

Templeton said he looks forward to working for Marshall University and the Lewis College of Business.

"I am excited about working with the community of Huntington, the businesses, and leaders of the area in establishing a great working relationship," Templeton said. "In the time that I have been in the area I have found the people of West Virginia and especially the Huntington area to be extremely friendly."

Templeton may be reached at (304) 696-3421 and Dennison may be reached at (304) 696-2435.

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Monday May 21, 2007
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

MU professor's book investigates Nazi policies of 'ethnic cleansing'

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Phillip T. Rutherford, a Marshall University assistant professor of modern European history with expertise in the Nazi era, has written a book titled Prelude to the Final Solution: The Nazi Program for Deporting Ethnic Poles, 1939-1941.

The 344-page, hardcover book is published by University Press of Kansas. In describing the book, University Press writes that "Rutherford investigates Nazi policies of 'ethnic cleansing' to reveal the striking anti-Polish nature of the crusade to Germanize newly occupied territory and to show that these actions were a dress rehearsal for the Holocaust.

"Rutherford explores the origin and implementation of Nazi resettlement schemes in occupied western Poland, where Germany sought to reclaim territory for its expanding population by booting out the 'ethnically inferior' Poles who had lived there for generations. Focusing on the Wartheland region, he examines four major deportation operations carried out between December 1939 and March 1941, including the day-to-day logistics and actions overseen by the powerful German Central Emigration Office."

Rutherford, who earned his Ph.D. from Penn State University in 2001, has extensive teaching experience in European history, Twentieth Century Europe and German history. He also is the author of Absolute Organizational Deficiency:  The 1.Nahplan of December 1939 (Logistics, Limitations, and Lessons), and Central European History 2 (2003):  235-273." He also was a Charles H. Revson Foundation Fellow at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies.

The following reviews are taken from the back cover of the book:

"Bit by bit, we are coming to understand the whole bizarre, cruel complex of Nazi racist policies. Rutherford has filled in an important section of that mosaic, illuminating the fate of those all-but-forgotten Polish victims and also showing us the links to the more deadly deportations to follow." - Geoffrey P. Megargee, author of Inside Hitler's High Command.

"Expertly exposes the conflict between the reach and grasp of Nazi resettlement policy in the East as ideology collided with wartime and economic realities on the 'parade ground of National Socialism.' " - Edward B. Westermann, author of Hitler's Police Battalions.

 "Carefully researched, engagingly written, with provocative and compelling arguments." - Doris L. Bergen, author of War and Genocide.

The book, which is part of the Modern War Studies series, is available for $34.95. Rutherford said it can be purchased available at Empire Books & News in downtown Huntington and Borders at the Huntington Mall.

Rutherford may be contacted at (304) 696-2719.

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Monday May 21, 2007
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Marshall's Upward Bound program funded for four more years

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - The Marshall University Upward Bound program has been notified by Congressman Nick Rahall's office that it has received funding for four more years with an initial annual budget of $344,012, according to Jackie Hersman, director of the program.

The program has been on Marshall's campus since 1972 and is funded by the United States Department of Education through a competitive grant that must be re-applied for every four years.  West Virginia's federal congressional delegation is instrumental in supporting these grants, Hersman said.

Upward Bound programs are designed to prepare and motivate low-income and/or first-generation high school students for a postsecondary education.  The program offers multiple services throughout the year and is best known for its intensive six-week summer program, when the students live on campus learning about college life and preparing for college level classes.

The Marshall University program serves 70 students from Cabell, Mingo and Wayne counties.  A highlight of this summer program is a partnership with the National Science Foundation that exposes the students to multiple areas of environmental science and culminates in a trip to Costa Rica in the summer of 2008. 

All students who make up the Upward Bound class of 2007 have been admitted to an institution of higher education with 90 percent of them planning to attend Marshall University.  Twenty-five percent of the class has received the PROMISE Scholarship.

For more information on the Upward Bound program, contact Hersman at (304) 696-6846 or at

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Friday May 18, 2007
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Harold Blanco is first person from Marshall to finish SREB's state doctoral scholars program

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Harold Blanco, the first person from Marshall University to be selected for the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) state doctoral scholars program, has been awarded a Ph.D. degree in technology education from Ohio University, thereby becoming Marshall's first nominee to finish that SREB program.

Blanco, a former faculty member in Marshall's department of Modern Languages, currently is coordinator of technology for MU's Higher Education for Learning Problems (H.E.L.P.) program and teaches part-time in the College of Education and Human Services. 

A native of Caracas, Venezuela, Blanco earned a master's degree in secondary education from Marshall in 2000.  He also has been a Minority Faculty Fellow at the Marshall University Graduate College in South Charleston.

SREB is a nonprofit organization that works with policymakers and leaders in 16 states to improve education at all levels.  The SREB-state doctoral program, in which Marshall participates, provides financial assistance and academic support to minority students who are admitted to doctoral programs.

Blanco was nominated into the SREB program by Dr. Betty Jane Cleckley, vice president for Multicultural Affairs at Marshall.

"The collaboration between West Virginia and the SREB provides an incredible resource for eligible U.S. citizens to enroll in the SREB doctoral program, according financial assistance, mentoring and guidance while preparing for an academic career," Cleckley said.

For more information on the SREB doctoral scholars program or to request application materials, e-mail Feon Smith with Multicultural Affairs at or visit  

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Wednesday May 16, 2007
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Marshall University launches Progenesis Technologies, LLC

Huntington, W.Va. - Marshall University today announced establishment of the new biotech company Progenesis Technologies, LLC, the latest in a series of high-tech businesses entering the local economy after being created by university faculty.

The announcement took place during a news conference in the Maier Auditorium of the Robert C. Byrd Biotechnology Science Center on Marshall's Huntington campus.

Progenesis is the brainchild of Drs. Hongwei Yu and Richard Niles, two basic scientists in the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine at Marshall University. Yu is a microbial geneticist who has the capacity to alter the genome of bacteria to make commercially important products. Niles is an accomplished researcher with past experience in biotech start-up development.

"The establishment of Progenesis Technologies is another excellent example of how Marshall University is advancing research-based economic development," Marshall President Stephen J. Kopp said. "Our faculty and students are doing incredible research at Marshall. It is astounding to think how much more we could do with the creation of the Marshall Institute for Interdisciplinary Research (MIIR) where we would have many more entrepreneurial researchers like Drs. Yu and Niles."

Marshall currently is seeking funding to create an endowment for MIIR, a new research and development program that will focus on biotechnology, biomanufacturing, nanotechnology and niche areas of applied molecular research.

Yu said the process of discovery takes thousands of hours of research to understand how bacterial genes work together to benefit an organism.

"What I do is make certain mutations in their genome so that they begin to manufacture useful products for us," Yu said.

In this case, alginate is the product.  Normally harvested from large brown seaweed, alginate has multiple applications (for items like beer and cosmetics, and for wound healing and drug delivery) with a worldwide market exceeding $88 billion annually.  Niles is helping Yu manage the multitude of business-related issues. 

"Using bacteria to manufacture useful products has incredible potential," Niles said, noting the business plan for Progenesis and future product lines. "With our current understanding of bacterial genomes and powerful gene manipulation techniques, we can produce new custom products such as biofuels, novel antibiotics and bacteria engineered to be super efficient at decontaminating waste products."

Progenesis licensed technology from the University invented by Yu and his post-doctoral fellow, Dr. Dongru Qiu, in which bacteria is used in the biomanufacturing of alginate.  The importance of this discovery is that it reduces the time and cost of production as well as environmental damage caused by the harvesting of seaweed.  It also allows the production of new kinds of alginate, not produced by seaweed, which will expand the market applications for this biopolymer.

"Professors Yu and Niles have developed a breakthrough technology for alginate production which will dramatically expand the scope and breadth of the commercial application of these materials," said John Maher, Ph.D., executive director of the Chemical Alliance Zone. "The entry of Progenesis Technologies, LLC into the CAZ Incubator will help lower the barrier to the successful commercialization of this exciting technology, and the success of Progenesis will have a dramatic economic development impact on the region as they tackle this significant market opportunity."

For more information about Progenesis Technologies, LLC, contact Niles at (304) 696-7323.

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Tuesday May 15, 2007
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

MU doctoral clinical psychology students to participate in 'Give the Gift of Knowledge' event Wednesday

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - On Wednesday, May 16, in recognition of National Women's Health Week, Marshall University doctoral clinical psychology students and health care providers from Ebenezer Medical Outreach, Inc., will be handing out literature related to women's emotional and physical health at a table sponsored by Empire Books and News at Pullman Square in Huntington.

The table will be set up outside Empire Books and News, which also will have a special display of books on the topics of women's health and self-help. The name of the event is "Give the Gift of Knowledge."

A proclamation by Huntington Mayor David Felinton, proclaiming the week of May 13-19 as National Women's Health Week in Huntington, also will be on display.

Tickets for a "no-charge raffle," with prizes that include a replica Louis Vuitton handbag, a variety of coffees, and an original painting by local artist (and Marshall University student) Bethany Wellman will be given out as long as they last. Those with winning raffle tickets do not need to be present to win.

The event begins at 10 a.m. and continues as long as materials and/or tickets remain to be disbursed, or until 7 p.m.

This event is being sponsored by the Marshall University Psychology Clinic, the College of Liberal Arts at Marshall University, Ebenezer Medical Outreach Inc., and Empire Books and News.

For additional information, contact Dr. Pamela Mulder at (304) 696-2770 or

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Monday May 14, 2007
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Marshall University Board of Governors votes unanimously to build student recreation center and two new residence halls

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - During a special meeting today, Marshall University's Board of Governors unanimously approved in principle a $94 million public-private project for the construction of a new 123,000 square-foot student recreation center, two new living/learning residence halls, and baseball and softball fields.

The resolution adopted by the Board authorizes the Chairman of the Board and the President of Marshall University to execute bond documents, ground leases, development agreements, management agreements, construction agreements and any other documents necessary to start, finalize and complete the project.

The project, which was developed jointly with Capstone Development Corp. and its partners, will involve construction of the student recreation center and two residence halls near the 5th Avenue and 20th Street section of Marshall's Huntington campus. Additionally, construction of new baseball and softball fields will occur in conjunction with this endeavor. However, their location and construction timeline will be the subject of a future announcement.

"I want to thank Chairman Menis Ketchum and the members of Marshall's Board of Governors for their unanimous support of this innovative plan for moving Marshall University forward," Marshall University President Stephen J. Kopp said. "These modern facilities will make us more competitive as we expand our student recruitment efforts and dedicate ourselves to growing full-time student enrollment at Marshall University. They will also help advance a more vibrant and engaged campus environment, one that fosters greater student achievement, retention and graduation rates."

Kopp said the residence halls are scheduled to open in August 2008, while the student recreation center is expected to open in January 2009.

"Capstone Development Corp. and their partners have been instrumental in the progress that has been made in the planning of this major project," Kopp said. "Through their experience, considerable expertise and tireless efforts, they have interpreted our vision for these new physical facilities and transformed them into futuristic facility plans that will meet the needs of our students for the foreseeable future."

"Capstone views our work with Marshall as not simply a 'project,' but as a long-term partnership to help transform the campus," said Michael A. Mouron, president of Capstone Development Corp.  "We are honored by the trust the University has placed in our team and look forward to a successful project for the Marshall students."

Mike Meadows, director of facilities planning and management at Marshall, said the general public and Marshall community need to be aware of changes that soon will take place on or near the construction sites.

Beginning on Monday, May 21, areas that no longer will be open to students and the public include the running track near 20th Street, the Marshall tennis courts and the MU softball field.

Demolition of the 20th Street Baptist Church, located at the corner of 5th Avenue and 20th Street, will begin on May 21, Meadows said. Fence work to secure the demolition site will begin this week, he said.

Meadows also announced impending lane and sidewalk closures. The north, or left lane of 5th Avenue from 19th Street to 20th Street will be closed; two south-bound lanes of 20th Street, starting midway between 3rd Avenue and 5th Avenue and continuing to the 5th Avenue/20th Street intersection, will be closed; and, the sidewalk on the north side of 5th Avenue and a portion of the sidewalk on the west side of 20th Street will be closed during the duration of the project. Demolition of the church is expected to take about 45 days.

"Because of the street and sidewalk closures, we would like to ask everyone to exercise caution when they are near the work site and ask them to work with us during the duration of the project," Meadows said. 

Mascaro Construction of Pittsburgh, which built Marshall's Robert C. Byrd Biotechnology Science Center, is the contractor for the project. Master Mechanical Insulation, Inc., of Huntington is doing the church demolition.


For more information about Capstone Development Corp., contact Alton Irwin, (205) 414-6417 or

Links to the images provided by Capstone Development Corp. for the Student Recreation Center and new residence halls can be found at

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Friday May 11, 2007
Contact: Angela Jones, Director of Marketing and External Affairs, Marshall Artists Series, (304) 696-3334

Marshall Artists Series Executive Director, Penny Watkins, Receives Order of the Arts and Historical Letters Award

Penny Watkins, Executive Director of the Marshall Artists Series, was recently awarded West Virginia Division of Culture and History's "Order of the Arts and Historical Letters" award in recognition of her outstanding service in the performing arts, which exemplifies the spirit of the people of the great state of West Virginia. "I was surprised and honored to have been recognized " said Ms. Watkins. 


The award was presented to Ms. Watkins by Randall Reid-Smith, Commissioner of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History on May 4, 2007 in Lewisburg, WV.  Mr. Reid-Smith was attending the final presentation of The Guys, a collaborative effort of three WV professional arts organizations: The Greenbrier Valley Theatre, Marshall University Department of Theatre and the Marshall Artists Series.

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Friday May 11, 2007
Contact: Bill Bissett, Marshall University Communications, (304) 696-6713

Marshall Undergraduate Students Awarded Summer Research Funds

Eleven Marshall University undergraduate students will conduct original scientific research by participating in the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) beginning May 21 and continuing through July 27.

"We want students to know that research is not only for graduate students, but also for the undergraduates. This is the time when they start developing their research skills in preparation for grad school," said Dr. Michael Norton, professor of chemistry at Marshall and director of the program.

Students will receive stipends totaling $4,000 each and supplies for their research for a period of ten weeks uninterrupted by classes during the summer.

Marshall has received funds for SURE from West Virginia's Research Challenge Fund to advance research in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics through the support of undergraduate research. This year, SURE will fund ten research projects that have been selected for support by the proposal evaluation committee.

This year, the awardees and their projects are:

  • Charles Lowe from Gilbert, W. Va. (Mathematics major), "Beta-Rayleigh Distribution in Reliability"
  • Christina Newsome from Dingess, W.Va. (Chemistry major), "Isolation and identification of Insulin C-Peptide Binding Proteins"
  • Deborah Preston from Huntington (Biology major), "Reversing Age-associated cardiac dysfunction"
  • Derek McKinney from Beckley, W.Va. (Environmental Science major), "Use of Substrate Mapping to Predict Bethnic Fish populations"
  • Jacob Kilgore from Kenova, W. Va. (Chemistry major), "Organometallic Complexes"
  • Megan Neal from Shreve, Ohio (Biology major), "Cardioprotective value of Chronic acetaminophen in the Aorta"
  • Reema Patel from Scott Depot, W.Va. (Biology major), and Mai-Lan Pham from Huntington (Biomedical Sciences major), "Role of PIWILA in Human Pancreatic Cancer"
  •  Robert Gibson from Salt Rock, W.Va. (Biology major), "Pokeweed Purification and Aptamer Development"
  • Samantha Newberry from Parkersburg, W.Va. (Biotechnology major), "Phylogenetic Analysis of  Black nose dace species"
  • Zachary Tackett from Chesapeake, Ohio (Biotechnolgoy major), "Resistance genes and proteins"

For more information, persons may visit the SURE program's Web site at, or contact Norton at

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Wednesday May 9, 2007
Contact: Angela Jones, Director of Markteting and External Affairs, Marshall Artists Series, (304) 696-3334

Tango Master Class Offered in Conjunction with Luis Bravo's Forever Tango

The Marshall Artists Series' 70th season will come to a close as the sizzling rhythms and sultry moves of the critically acclaimed Forever Tango spice up the evening of Tuesday, May 15, 2007. The unforgettable performance will begin at 8 p.m. at the Keith-Albee Theatre.


In honor of the performance we are also offering a master class taught by guest artists from the Forever Tango dance company. The class will be held on Tuesday, May 15, 2007 at the Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center room 224 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 per person and can be paid at the door. Cash only. For tickets reservations call the Marshall Artists Series at 696-3326. Space for this class is limited.


Created and directed by Luis Bravo, Forever Tango features a cast of 26 performers including 14 brilliant, exceptionally adept dancers who tango in their own unique styles, offering variety and dramatic insights. Led by musical director/arranger Victor Lavallen, the onstage 11-piece orchestra is anchored by the bandoneun, an accordion-like instrument imported to Argentina from Germany in 1886 to become a mainstay of tango music with a melancholy, longing sound unique to the tango. With only 200 bandoneun players in the world, Forever Tango is fortunate to have four bandoneun players on stage joined by the acclaimed Argentinean singer, Martin de Leon.


Pop cultural historians note that the tango helped catapult early screen actor Rudolph Valentino to stardom, and its influence can be seen in a variety of dance forms, including modern dance, jazz, hip-hop, and ballet. The tango has become one of the most enduring and influential popular dance styles of this century and may well be Argentina's best-known export. While it has a repertoire of definite steps, it also allows for a certain amount of improvisation, as well as tremendous latitude in personal interpretation. The tango is never danced the same way twice.

Forever Tango originally took San Francisco by storm and later moved to Broadway where it garnered multiple Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations. Along with touring the United States, the sultry performance has made appearances in London, Toronto, Mexico, Korea, Japan, and Germany.


A noted musician himself, Luis Bravo has been rewarded as one of the most successful Latin artists on Broadway. Bravo was a member of the Argentine National Symphony until he moved to the United States. He conceived Forever Tango in the belief that Argentine tango was an enduring worldwide phenomenon that needed a showcase.


The London Times said Forever Tango is, "Gloriously varied, stunningly performed and beguilingly sexy." "Superbly theatrical! Heart-stopping illusionůDazzling dancing - fluid, unpredictable flashing footwork," said the Los Angeles Times.


Tickets for the performance are $48.50, $43.50, and $35. They can be purchased through the Marshall Artists Series Box Office, located in the Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center. The box office is open Monday through Friday from noon to 5 p.m. Phone orders may be taken from the box office for patrons by calling (304) 696-6656.  All major credit cards are accepted.


Tickets may also be purchased through Ticketmaster by calling (304) 523-5757 in Huntington or (304) 342-5757 in Charleston. Tickets can also be purchased online at

This performance is sponsored by BB&T, University Physicians & Surgeons, Farrell, Farrell & Farrell, PLLC, WOWK-TV the Herald-Dispatch, Clear Channel Communications, and the Marshall Artists Series.

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Friday May 4, 2007
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

WMUL concludes banner year with awards in three contests

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Winning awards is nothing unusual for WMUL-FM students. Since Dr. Chuck Bailey, professor of electronic media management in Marshall University's W. Page Pitt School of Journalism and Mass Communications, became faculty manager of the school's public radio station in 1985, WMUL students have won 751 awards.

But the past couple of weeks have been even more special than usual for Bailey and his student broadcasters. Bailey, in fact, received a prestigious award of his own. He and  WSAZ-3 sports director Keith Morehouse were presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the West Virginia Associated Press Broadcasters Association.

"This award was not given because of anything I have done on my own but is a reflection of all of the students who have labored long and hard as volunteers to make WMUL-FM one of the best examples of what a college radio station should be," Bailey said. "Their successes have brought great honor to Marshall University and the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism and Mass Communications and this Lifetime Achievement award signifies recognition of those accomplishments over the past two decades."

Here is a rundown of the honors WMUL garnered over the past couple of weeks:

  • Five first-place awards and four second-place awards in the 2006 Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Mark of Excellence Contest for Region 4 in four radio categories and one online category. The awards were presented at the Region 4 SPJ Convention Saturday, April 14 at the Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center in Detroit.

  • One Best of Festival award, one first-place award and two second-place awards during the Fifth Annual Broadcast Educators Association Festival of Media Arts Student Audio Competition ceremony Friday, April 20 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nev.

  • Sixteen awards in the West Virginia Associated Press Broadcasters Association's Awards Saturday, April 21 at the Pullman Plaza Hotel in Huntington.

Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ)
Mark of Excellence Contest

The first-place award-winning entries in the SPJ contest were in the Best News Reporting, Best Feature, Radio In-depth Reporting, Radio Sports Reporting and Radio Newscast categories.

Students involved in the productions were Melanie Chapman, a graduate student from McConnell, W.Va., in the Best News Reporting, Radio Sports Reporting and Radio Newscast categories; Adam Cavalier, a sophomore from Montgomery, W.Va., in Best Feature and Radio Newscast categories, and Jen Smith, a recent graduate from Huntington, in Radio In-depth Reporting and Radio Newscast categories.

In addition to Chapman, Cavalier and Smith, the Radio Newcast category involved the following students: Patrick Western, a senior from Nitro, W.Va.; Deven Swartz, a junior from Philippi, W.Va.; Brandon Millman, a senior from Huntington; Alex Reed, a graduate student from Virginia Beach, Va.; Alexis Stewart, a junior from Cyclone, W.Va., and Whitney Thomas, a sophomore from Wheeling.

The second-place award-winning entries were in the Best News Reporting, Best Feature, Radio Indepth Reporting and Best Affiliated Web Site categories.

Students involved in the productions were Cavalier, Best News Reporting; Chapman, Best Feature; Dave Wilson, a recent graduate from St. Marys, W.Va., Radio In-depth Reporting, and Swartz, Best Affiliated Web Site.

Bailey said there were more than 3,300 entries from across SPJ's 12 regions in the Mark of Excellence contest. 

Broadcast Educators Association
Festival of Media Arts Student Audio Competition

The Broadcast Educators Association and the Charles and Lucille King Family Foundation's Best of Festival award for audio went to WMUL-FM for its broadcast of the football game between Marshall and Tulane University on Nov. 4, 2006. Students participating in the broadcast were Reed, Wilson and Chapman.

"Alex Reed, Dave Wilson and Melanie Chapman have received the ultimate compliment for their on-air sportscasting at WMUL-FM by being presented the Best of Festival award," Bailey said.

The first-place award-winning entry in audio was in the Sports Play-by-Play category for the MU-Tulane game. The second-place award-winning entries were in the Audio Educational Program category, featuring Smith, and the Audio Drama category, featuring Scott Hall, a graduate student from Stephens City, Va.

West Virginia Associated Press
Broadcasters Association's Awards

WMUL-FM students competed directly against commercial stations, West Virginia Public Radio and their professional staffs for West Virginia Associated Press Broadcasters Association awards, Bailey said.

Reed was named the Radio Broadcast Journalist of the Year and, along with Wilson and Chapman, won the Best Sports Play-By-Play award for the Marshall-Tulane football game. Also, Reed won the Best Radio Sportscaster award for a compilation of work for the second consecutive year and Wilson was the honorable mention award winner in this category.

Clark Davis, a graduate student from Huntington, won first place in the Best Sports Special category, Ryan Epling, a senior from Wayne, was named the state's Best Radio Talk Program Host and Swartz, Chris Anastasia, John Griffith and James Roach took first place for Best Talk Show, a call-in program titled "On The Table." Anastasia is a master's graduate from Huntington, Griffith is a sophomore from Huntington, and Roach is a freshman from Richwood, W.Va.

WMUL had 10 honorable mention award-winning entries in the state AP Broadcasters Association awards. Chapman, Cavalier, Smith, Epling, Reed, Swartz and Wilson contributed to those entries.

For the 2006-07 academic school year, WMUL's student broadcasters won 58 awards, including 23 for first place, according to Bailey. For more information, call Bailey at (304) 696-2294.

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Thursday May 3, 2007
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Gift from BrickStreet paves way for engineering scholarship at Marshall University

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall University today announced the formation of a new engineering scholarship based on a $15,000 gift provided by BrickStreet Mutual Insurance.

The $1,000 "BrickStreet Safety Scholarship" will be awarded annually to at least one student enrolled as a safety major in the College of Information Technology and Engineering (CITE).

"We are very grateful to BrickStreet for its commitment to safety education and the engineering program at Marshall University," Marshall President Stephen J. Kopp said.  "Through the philanthropic support of West Virginia companies like BrickStreet, we are better able to educate the next generation of engineers." 

Criteria for recipients of the scholarship include a preferred West Virginia residency, a 3.0 grade point average, and a valid driver's license.   Another key component of the scholarship includes the opportunity to participate in a paid internship with BrickStreet.

"Workplace safety is a top priority at BrickStreet. Over the years, we have devoted considerable time, energy and resources to help West Virginia employers provide a healthy, injury-free environment for their workers," said BrickStreet President and CEO Gregory A. Burton. "To us, this scholarship represents a partnership with Marshall University to promote these ideals for the next generation."

A screening committee comprised of representatives from CITE, BrickStreet Insurance and the MU Office of Student Financial Assistance will be responsible for the selection process.  Applications for the BrickStreet Safety Scholarship must be received by the screening committee annually by April 15.  


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Wednesday May 2, 2007
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Marshall faculty member's article published in PNAS

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - An article written by Dr. Hongwei Yu, associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology in the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine at Marshall University, was published April 30 in an early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), one of the world's most-cited multidisciplinary scientific serials.

PNAS publishes cutting-edge research reports, commentaries, reviews, perspectives, colloquium papers and actions of the Academy.

"All those familiar with scientific literature are aware of the significance of such recognition," Dr. Howard Aulick, vice president for research at Marshall, said. "Four other PNAS papers of equal stature have involved MU investigators before, but none originated here or was directed by an MU scientist."

Yu's article, entitled Regulated proteolysis controls mucoid conversion in Pseudomonas aeruginosa, describes the signal transduction pathway responsible for conversion of the non-mucoid, relatively harmless form of Pseudomonas aeruginosa - a Gram-negative, aerobic rod belonging to the bacterial family Pseudomonadaceae - to its pathogenic mucoid phenotype.

"Hongwei has discovered how a relatively benign form of common environmental bacteria becomes pathogenic," Aulick said. "This will not only have profound health benefits, but it may also introduce major economic development with biomanufacturing."

Yu, also an adjunct associate professor in the School of Medicine's Department of Pediatrics, said he has been working on this discovery, which is patent pending, since 1999 when he joined Marshall's faculty. He previously had extensive doctoral and postdoctoral training in molecular genetics.

"We are very excited because this is truly a major milestone for my lab," he said. "This national recognition by our peers is very important. It is equally important that this originated at Marshall."

Yu said the mucoid morphology is due to the overproduction of a large polysaccharide, called alginate, that forms a thick, slimy "biofilm" around colonies of bacteria, protecting them from the body's immune defense mechanisms.  The result is can be a life-threatening event when this occurs in the lungs of patients with cystic fibrosis.

"Unraveling the microbial genetics controlling this process required several years of painstaking and extremely complex research involving literally hundreds of experiments," Aulick said. "Dr. Yu, his students and collaborators identified three positive regulators of bacterial alginate biosynthesis." 

Immediately upon his arrival at Marshall, Yu began writing grants to support his research.  His work has been funded by NASA, NIH, USDA, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, biotech companies and the West Virginia NASA Space Grant Consortium.

"To a very great extent, it was NASA Space Grant support that helped him gain funding from the other federal and private sources," Aulick said. "Data collected with these resources enabled him to secure his first major NASA award.  When fiscal contingences forced NASA to reduce his third-year funding by $50,000, NASA Space Grant and Marshall University stepped up to fill this potentially devastating gap. This research formed the basis for the current PNAS article."

Aulick said this is a classic example of how EPSCoR and its affiliates enable scientists to achieve national research competitiveness. 

Yu's research resulted in three primary consequences.  First are the potential health benefits derived - knowledge of the control of muciody can lead to earlier diagnosis and more effective treatment.  Second, the high standards set by Yu make his laboratory a fertile training ground for undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.  Last, the research described in this PNAS article led to a patent application and the development of a new biomanufacturing business for West Virginia. 

"It is clear that Dr. Yu is an extremely talented and very energetic scientist," Aulick said. "His excitement about his work and Marshall University is contagious.  This PNAS article is clear evidence that he is becoming a well-recognized international scholar.  Marshall University, West Virginia EPSCoR and the state of West Virginia have every right to be proud of Dr. Yu's accomplishments and realize that recognition by the National Academy of Sciences suggests the best is yet to come."

For more information, contact Yu at (304) 696-7356.

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Tuesday May 1, 2007
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Marshall Baseball Day at Appalachian Power Park is set for May 12

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - The Greater Kanawha Valley Alumni Club of the Marshall University Alumni Association is sponsoring the second annual Marshall Baseball Day at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston on Saturday, May 12.

Fans paying $20 will get to see Marshall take on UAB at noon in a Conference USA baseball game, attend a picnic with the Marshall baseball players and coaches from about 3 to 4:30 p.m. in a reserved section of the park, then attend the West Virginia Power's 7:05 p.m. game with the Greensboro Grasshoppers.

Marshall President Stephen J. Kopp will join Marco and other members of the Marshall family at the ballpark. Gates open at 11 a.m.

For more information or to RSVP, call Martha Hill, president of the Greater Kanawha Valley Alumni Club, at (304) 744-5149 by Wednesday, May 9. Checks should be made payable to MUAA, c/o Martha Hill, 302 Hunters Ridge Road, Charleston, WV 25314.

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