December 2009 News Releases

Monday December 21, 2009
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Winners announced in design contests at Marshall University

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Joseph Huter, a senior in the Marshall University Department of Art and Design's Graphic Design Program, is the winner of the 2009 Holiday Card Design Contest, sponsored by MU President and Mrs. Stephen J. Kopp.

Huter's card design, which was digitally rendered, features an abstract holiday impression and spots of varnish emphasizing important parts of the design.

"I wanted to try something different, something totally off the grid and totally different," said Huter, who is from Hurricane, W.Va. "It worked out for my benefit."

Prof. Hayson Harrison, Huter's graphic design teacher, said she has always enjoyed working with Huter.

"He is the most hard-working student I've ever seen," Harrison said. "His solution was pretty strong and his final product was quite wonderful and appropriate."

Kyle Quinn, a senior fine arts major with an emphasis in sculpture, won the 2009 Commemorative Plate Design Contest, also sponsored by President and Mrs. Kopp.

Quinn, who is from Huntington, used Marshall University logo motifs to create a repeated pattern in the center of the plate. He used the buffalo head logo and the MU logo.

"My design is very pattern oriented," Quinn said. "Specifically, the M and the U are almost quilt like."

Huter and Quinn received $700 apiece for their winning designs.

President and Mrs. Kopp began the card design and plate design competition in 2007 as a way of recognizing the talent of Marshall's students. The card designed by Huter is being mailed to everyone on President Kopp's mailing list.  

In the card design contest, Kimberly Archer, a junior from Parkersburg, W.Va., was the second-place winner and received $350 and Erin Mulvaney, a senior from Ashland, Ky., was third and received $150. Kelli Gagnon, a senior from Huntington, was the honorable mention winner and received $50.

Another category was added to the design competition this year. Jacob Hall, a senior from Ripley, W.Va., finished first in the 2009 New Media Design Contest featuring animations. He won $700 for the entry he titled "Thought."

Jetwichen Chaowadee, a graduate student from Huntington, won $350 with his second-place entry of "Canon Ad." Finishing third was Stephen Preston, a senior from Russell, Ky., with "Wendy's." He received $150.

Prof. Brent Patterson said all three works by Hall, Chaowadee and Preston were animations, with Chaowadee's being an animation combined with real video shot in New York City.

"The videos' technical complexity ranged from advanced compositing techniques to simple hand-drawn animation," Patterson said. "The subject matter ranged from humorous to dreamlike and poetic. Mr. Hall took first place with a beautiful, but simple animation of a character moving through profound experiences of life."

All the videos can be viewed online at

Two students received honorable mention. They were Melissa Moran, a senior from Daphne, Ala., and Stephanie Lloyd, a senior from Huntington.


Photos: Joseph Huter (left) of Hurricane, W.Va., finished first in the 2009 Holiday Card Design Contest. Kyle Quinn (right) of Huntington won the 2009 Commemorative Plate Design Contest. Photos by Rick Haye/Marshall University.

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Friday December 18, 2009
Contact: Ginny Painter, Communications Director, Marshall University Research Corporation, 304-746-1964

National Science Foundation grant to fund scholarship program for nontraditional students

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Dr. Elizabeth Murray of Marshall University's Department of Integrated Science and Technology (IST) has been awarded a four-year $586,500 grant to develop a scholarship program for nontraditional students at the university and the Marshall Community and Technology College (MCTC).

According to Murray, the grant from the National Science Foundation will underwrite a Trailblazer Scholars program for nontraditional students who have dependents and are interested in pursuing a degree in the fields of science, technology, engineering or mathematics.

Murray's co-investigators in the project include, at Marshall, Dr. James Leonard of the Geography Department; Brian Morgan of IST; Dr. Patricia Logan of the College of Information Technology and Engineering; and at MCTC, Dr. Randall Jones of the Information Technology program and Dr. Jason Black of the Bioscience program.

Beginning in the fall 2010 semester, full scholarships (up to $8,500 above and beyond Pell Grant or other government financial assistance) will be awarded to at least 15 students. In addition to being responsible for dependents, applicants to the Trailblazer Scholars program must have a track record of academic accomplishments at the high school and/or college level and demonstrate financial need.

"The program is being designed for smart, motivated nontraditional students who are unemployed or employed in low-wage, unskilled jobs with no real room for advancement," said Murray. "If they are eager for a challenge, we will help them succeed and earn a degree in a high-tech field at either Marshall University or MCTC."

In addition to financial assistance, other support, including mentoring and enrichment programs, will be provided to increase the likelihood scholarship recipients will be successful in the program.

She added, "Not only will this program improve educational opportunities and student services for nontraditional students at both Marshall and MCTC, and build a stronger relationship between the two institutions, but it will also help expand the technical and science-based workforce in the region. That is important if we are going to improve the economic climate in our communities."

Students interested in applying for the Trailblazer Scholars program should contact either Murray at or 304-696-3515 or Black at or 304-696-3889.

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Friday December 18, 2009
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Marshall professor receives national service award from the Research Consortium of AAHPERD

- Dr. Jennifer Y. Mak, professor and director of sport management at Marshall University, received a national service award from the Research Consortium of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD). The Research Consortium is a group of more than 5,500 research scholars and other members of AAHPERD who have a strong interest in research.

"It is my pleasure to serve my colleagues at a national level. It is very encouraging to be recognized by peers for my contributions to the Research Consortium," Mak said. "I will continue to work hard and serve the profession. My recognition is only one example of Marshall's national prominence for excellence in the areas of high quality teaching, research and service."

Mak has assumed a variety of leadership roles in her field. For example, she has been the executive board member of the AAHERD Research Consortium, the President of West Virginia AHPERD, the Convention Chairperson for different conferences, Director of Sports Education Camps for Students who are Visually Impaired, Editorial Review Board member and reviewer for several journals and national conventions.

In addition, Mak received the 2009 Scholar Award from West Virginia Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (West Virginia AHPERD).

Mak has been honored with numerous awards such as the Scholar Awards from both the College of Education and Human Services and the Mid-West District of AAHPERD; induction as a Fellow from AAHPERD Research Consortium; the AAHPERD Mabel Lee Award for the outstanding young professor of the year; the MU Distinguished Artists & Scholars Award junior recipient; and the Honor Award from the West Virginia AHPERD. She also has joined other eminent scholars from outside Hong Kong to be named a University Fellow by Hong Kong Baptist University.

The American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) is the largest organization of professionals supporting and assisting those involved in physical education, leisure, fitness, dance, health promotion, and education and all specialties related to achieving a healthy lifestyle. AAHPERD is an alliance of five national associations, six district associations and a research consortium and is designed to provide members with a comprehensive and coordinated array of resources, support, and programs to help practitioners improve their skills and so further the health and well-being of the American public.

The mission of the AAHPERD Research Consortium is to advance, promote and disseminate quality research within and across the disciplines and the professions served by AAHPERD. For more information on the Consortium, visit

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Friday December 18, 2009
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Marshall University joins with Census Bureau to urge people to fill out 2010 U.S. Census questionnaires

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall University is joining with the United States Census Bureau in an effort to communicate to everyone in the MU and Huntington communities the importance of filling out 2010 U.S. Census questionnaires, which will be mailed or delivered to households on March 15 of next year.

The census is a count of everyone residing in the United States. The U.S. Constitution requires a national census once every 10 years to count the population and determine the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Marshall officials met recently with Richard Hartman, Senior Partnership Specialist with the U.S. Census Bureau, and members of his staff to discuss communication strategy and to form a census committee at MU.

"The goal is to get the word out on the importance of everyone filling out their questionnaires," Hartman said. "It is very important that everyone be counted because funds allocated each year by the federal government are based, in part, on the census count. A higher population allows them to obtain more funds."

Determining congressional seats and federal funding is only part of the important uses of census data. For example, the federal government uses population data to allocate funds in areas such as:

  • Title 1 grants to educational agencies

  • Head Start programs

  • Women, Infants and Children programs

  • Public transportation

  • Road rehabilitation and construction

  • Programs for the elderly

  • Emergency food and shelter programs

  • Empowerment zones

As part of a national kickoff to the 2010 census, the Census Bureau is planning a January Road Tour throughout Michigan, Ohio and West Virginia. The tour will include a day-long stop on Monday, Jan. 25 at the Memorial Student Center on Marshall University's Huntington campus that will include displays, guest speakers, representation by community organizations, music, giveaways and lots of information.

Members of Hartman's staff will be on hand to answer questions about the census and the questionnaires. More details on the road tour will be available soon.

Hartman said a person's residence is determined by where he or she lives and sleeps most of the time. Thus, Marshall students who live in residence halls on the Huntington campus are, according to the Census Bureau, Huntington residents - not residents in their hometowns. Marshall's nearly 500 international students, in fact, should fill out the questionnaires and be counted as Huntington residents. Persons do not have to be citizens of the United States to be counted.

Every residence will receive a short questionnaire of 10 questions for the 2010 census. The individual in whose name the housing unit is owned or rented should complete the questionnaire on behalf of every person living in the residence.

Census Bureau workers undertake extensive operations to take in-person counts of people living in group quarters, such as college dormitories.

The questionnaires will be mailed out on March 15 with Census Day on April 1. Forms will be available at all public libraries for persons who do not receive them at home. It is crucial that persons mail back completed forms as soon as possible after receiving them. By law, the Census Bureau delivers the population counts to the president on Dec. 31, 2010.

For more information, contact Hartman at 304-348-6710.

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Thursday December 17, 2009
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

SGA offering students free trip, tickets to bowl game in Detroit

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall University's Student Government Association is sponsoring a free tailgate bus and free tickets for MU students to the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in Detroit on Dec. 26, SGA President Sean Hornbuckle announced today. Marshall's Thundering Herd plays Ohio University at 1 p.m. at Ford Field.

Game tickets will be given to the first 50 students who go to the lobby of the Memorial Student Center at 1 p.m. Monday, Dec. 21. Those students also will be invited to board a tailgate charter bus to and from Detroit at no cost. The bus will leave the student center at 4 a.m. Dec. 26 and return immediately after the game.

Hornbuckle said new Herd football Coach Doc Holliday will help him distribute the free tickets to the students.

"This is a perfect opportunity to give back to our students with a Christmas gift of this magnitude and re-energize our fan base heading into next season," Hornbuckle said. "To send any number of students to a bowl game is remarkable. This free trip couldn't have been done without the help of the president's office, athletics and the ticket office, and my adviser, Steve Hensley (dean of student affairs). It's hard to beat partying with your friends on the way to the Motor City to watch your classmates beat up on the Bobcats all for free. I know I wouldn't miss it if I had the chance!"

The only requirement is a $10 deposit needed from each person to hold a seat on the bus. The deposit will be returned to the students after the trip. Hornbuckle said students who already have purchased tickets to the game also can board the tailgate bus for the ride to and from Detroit.

For more information, contact Hornbuckle at 304-360-1015.

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Thursday December 17, 2009
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Marshall University's Huntington campus to observe holiday hours

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Selected departments, offices and facilities on Marshall University's Huntington campus will be open at various times during the holiday break, which takes place from midday Tuesday, Dec. 22 through Sunday, Jan. 3.

Departments and facilities scheduled to be open and offering assistance from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, Dec. 28-30 include the Office of the Registrar, Admissions, the Bursar's Office, Financial Aid, Academic Affairs and Academic Advising, all located in Old Main.

The Marshall Bookstore will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 22 and Monday-Wednesday, Dec. 28-30, and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 31. 

The Marshall University Foundation, Inc.'s office in Old Main 323 will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 30-31 to answer calls, accept gifts and handle other requests. The foundation's main number (304-696-6264) will be answered by Foundation and Development staff throughout the holiday break.

The Marshall Recreation Center will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday-Wednesday, Dec. 22-23 and Monday-Wednesday, Dec. 28-30, and from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, Dec. 26-27 and Saturday-Sunday, Jan. 2-3.

Also, the residence halls on the Huntington campus will be offering break housing for students in Twin Towers East and West. Interested students may contact the Department of Residence Services at 304-696-6765 before the holiday break begins Dec. 23.  Residence Services will be closed throughout the break.

Below are locations and contact information for some of the services that will be available during the break:

         Academic Affairs (Old Main 110, 304-696-6704)

         Academic Advising - located in the Registrar's Office (Old Main 106B, 304-696-6410)

  • Admissions (Old Main 102, 304-696-3160)
  • Bursar's Office (Old Main 101, 304-696-6620)
  • Financial Aid (Old Main 116, 304-696-3162 or 800-438-5390)
  • Registrar's Office (Old Main 106B, 304-696-6410)
  • MU Foundation (Old Main 323, 304-696-6264)
  • Marshall Recreation Center (304-696-4732,

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Wednesday December 16, 2009
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Graduate College Advisory Board formed at Marshall University

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - The Graduate College Advisory Board has been formed at Marshall University, Dr. Donna Spindel, dean of the MU Graduate College, announced today.

Spindel said the board is a group of distinguished educational, corporate, professional and community leaders with a strong commitment to enhancing the quality of graduate education at Marshall University. The board's mission is to promote the activities of the graduate college to the external community, to provide advice and input on graduate education to the dean, and to help identify and obtain private funding for graduate student professional activities.

The advisory board's first meeting took place on Dec. 4 at the Forensic Science Center in Huntington, the home of the Forensic Science master's program. 

Graduate College Advisory Board members include:

Dr. Duke Haddad, Vice President for Development/CDO, The Children's Medical Center of Dayton

David Haden, MU Alumni Association, graduate college representative, iSource, LLC, Charleston, W.Va.

Monica Hatfield, educator, past president, MU Foundation, Charleston, W.Va.

Mark H. Hayes, attorney, Robinson & McElwee, Charleston, W.Va.

William Sawran, retired, corporate Vice President, Ashland Oil, Lexington, Ky.

Elizabeth Appell Sheets, Student Legal Aid Advisor, Marshall University, board member, Huntington Museum of Art

Brandon B. Roisman, Vice President-Wealth Management, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, Huntington, W.Va.

Lawrence Tweel, managing partner, Green, Ketchum, Bailey & Tweel, Huntington, W.Va.

Dr. Thomas Wilkinson, DDS, SOM admissions committee, Hospice Board, Barboursville, W.Va.

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Tuesday December 15, 2009
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Youth programming planned during holidays at Marshall Recreation Center

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - The Marshall Recreation Center will be hosting various programming for youth in the community during the holidays.

The Healthy Herd Holiday Camps focus on developing healthy lifestyles through participation in physical and educational activities for children ages 5-13. The Speed & Agility Camp is geared towards competitive athletes ages 12-18 who want to improve techniques necessary for all athletic events.

The Healthy Herd Holiday Camps will run two separate events, a one-day camp from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 19 and a three-day camp following Christmas from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily Monday, Dec. 28 to Wednesday, Dec. 30. Cost for the one-day camp is $40 for members and $50 for non-members and includes lunch and a camp t-shirt. The cost for the three-day camp is $100 for members and $125 for non-members.

During the Healthy Herd Holiday Camps the campers will swim, climb the rock wall, participate in games, arts and crafts, and learn about nutrition. The camps emphasize self-esteem, self-responsibility and self-worth for all campers.

The Speed & Agility Camp will run from noon to 4 p.m. daily Monday, Dec. 28 to Wednesday, Dec. 30. Instruction will focus on proper technique, injury prevention, exercise drill selection, acceleration, agility and balance. Each athlete will receive expert instruction from certified personal trainers, former collegiate athletes and a registered dietician.

During the intensive three-day program, each camper will receive a specialized fitness assessment and be given a workout drill program which can be followed after the camp is over. The cost for the camp is $125 per camper and includes a t-shirt.

Persons with questions about either camp may visit or call the recreation center at 304-696-4732.

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Monday December 14, 2009
Contact: Jaye Ike, College of Fine Arts, 304-696-3296

River City Jazz Ensemble to give holiday concert Tuesday

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall University Professor of Music and Director of Jazz Studies Dr. Ed Bingham will be the featured saxophone soloist at a performance of the River Cites Jazz Ensemble Tuesday, Dec. 15.  The concert, sponsored by the Jazz Studies area of the Marshall Department of Music, will take place at 7 p.m. in Smith Music Hall on the Huntington campus and is free and open to the public.

This concert will celebrate the season with well-known holiday selections arranged for Big Band. The River Cities Jazz Ensemble (RCJE) was established in February 2008 by two former U.S. Air Force Band members, Carl Toler and Frank Hayes.  They have worked to gather the finest musicians in the Huntington area to form a cohesive big band dedicated to preserving, producing, performing, and promoting big band jazz.

"From the dance band tunes of the 1940s to the bold big band charts of today, the RCJE offers an exciting and entertaining program for your listening pleasure," Bingham said.

The ensemble consists of a versatile group of 18 musicians from all walks of life, but who share an enthusiasm for offering the public the highest level of professional entertainment. The RCJE repertoire includes music made famous by such great bandleaders as Glenn Miller, Woody Herman, Count Basie, Stan Kenton, Buddy Rich, and Duke Ellington.

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Thursday December 10, 2009
Contact: Lalena Price, Communications Coordinator, 304-746-1989

Autism Training Center's executive director shares information at Community Psychiatry Workshop in Taiwan

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - The West Virginia Autism Training Center at Marshall University recently gained international recognition for its unique approach in providing children with autism and their families with the ability to lead happy and productive lives.

Dr. Barbara Becker-Cottrill, executive director of the Autism Training Center, recently returned from a meeting of the Chinese Community Psychiatry Workshop in Taiwan where she shared information about how the West Virginia Autism Training Center best works with the families of children with autism. She said the shared information comes at a critical time for the Taiwanese culture, as their rates of prevalence of autism spectrum disorders are under review.

"It was an honor to be invited to share our good work with the Taiwanese community," Becker-Cottrill said. "The first study to determine the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders is under way in Taiwan. I anticipate that their prevalence rates will be similar to ours in the United States - approximately one in 100.  Their government appears to be keenly aware that services for this population of individuals will be critical."

Becker-Cottrill made two presentations during the workshop, which took place in the Calo Psychiatric Center in Taiwan. During the first, she spoke to a group of about 100 special education teachers at the Kaohsiung Medical University about educating students on the autism spectrum. The second presentation was geared to a smaller group during a series of community based seminars and addressed how the Autism Training Center successfully serves families with autism in West Virginia and how to further enhance development of similar services in Taiwan.  

Becker-Cottrill explained how the center utilizes a comprehensive service delivery model that is highly individualized for each family and child. Key features of this model include family and person-centered planning; building a team for the person with the autism spectrum disorder that includes the family; educational personnel and other support staff and friends; and developing and implementing a comprehensive behavior support plan for the person with the disorder that focuses on teaching new skills, reducing challenging behaviors and increasing quality of life.

"I learned that much of the current system to help families of children with autism spectrum disorders in Taiwan is clinic-based. They were very interested in how the center at Marshall University provides community-based therapeutic services in homes and schools across our state," she said. "It was also a pleasure to speak to special educators and psychologists and psychology students at Kaohsiung Medical University.   They wanted to learn more evidence-based practices for teaching students with autism spectrum disorders and, specifically, about using applied behavior analysis in their classrooms and their practices."

The West Virginia Autism Training Center at Marshall University was established through the efforts of parents of children with autism throughout West Virginia. Led by Ruth C. Sullivan, these parents convinced state legislators of their need for intensive, individualized educational and behavioral training for families, educators and other individuals involved with the person with autism. In 1983, the West Virginia Legislature established the Autism Training Center at Marshall University in Huntington. Since then, more than 1,800 families of children with autism have registered for services from the center.


Photo: Dr. Barbara Becker-Cottrill, third from the right in the front row, poses for a picture with participants in the Chinese Community Psychiatry Workshop in Taiwan.

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Wednesday December 9, 2009
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

College of Education and Human Services at Marshall University announces third faculty award donor for 2009

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Dr. Barbara Guyer, current Marshall University professor and retired founder and director of the Marshall H.E.L.P. program, has made a gift to create a faculty award endowment in Marshall's College of Education and Human Services (COEHS), the college announced today.

The award, which has been renamed the "Dr. Barbara Guyer Faculty Award for Excellence in Service," will annually recognize COEHS faculty for excellence in service. Barbara and her husband Dr. Kenneth Guyer, associate professor in Marshall's School of Medicine, have made the contribution to support and recognize COEHS faculty for commitment to service.

The award originally was established in 2006 by Dr. Rosalyn Templeton, dean of the College of Education and Human Services. Current, full-time, tenured faculty in the COEHS are eligible to apply for this yearly recognition and $500 award stipend. Templeton also established awards in the areas of research and teaching.

Barbara Priddy Guyer grew up in Richmond, Va., where she attended public schools. Her experiences at Virginia Commonwealth University instilled in her a great love of teaching.  She earned a master's degree in administration and learning disabilities from The Ohio State University, a master's in psychology from West Virginia University, and a doctorate in learning disabilities and administration from the University of Virginia.

While living in five different states, Guyer taught grades two through six, remedial reading, learning disability classes and remedial reading to inmates in a women's prison.  She has also served as a supervisor of Special Education, a principal of two learning disability centers, and from 1975 to the present she has served as coordinator of the graduate program in learning disabilities at Marshall University.

In 1981, Guyer founded the H.E.L.P. (Higher Education for Learning Problems) program at Marshall.  H.E.L.P. provides support for undergraduate students with dyslexia, attention deficit disorder and other learning problems. She also founded the Medical H.E.L.P. program in 1986 for medical students and physicians needing remedial reading support.

In addition, she began Diagnostic H.E.L.P., Remedial H.E.L.P., and Community H.E.L.P. Guyer retired as director of the Higher Education for Learning Problems Program (H.E.L.P.) in August 2005 although she continues to work part time in the Medical H.E.L.P. area while maintaining a full-time faculty position in the COEHS.

"Dr. Guyer has successfully combined her academic career with outstanding community service to benefit literally thousands of individuals at the local, state, national and international levels," Templeton said. "She is truly a blessing for West Virginia and most deserving to have this award named after her."

Guyer has received the Charles Hedrick Award, which is the highest honor that Marshall University can bestow on a professor.  She also has received the Distinguished Artists and Scientists Award, the MU Alumni Association Award for Community Service and the Learning Disabilities Association of America Teacher of the Year Award.  She also has been an Unsung Hero in Newsweek magazine.

Guyer and her husband have two daughters.  Greta is a physician and Jennifer is an attorney.  Through them Guyer said said she has gained an understanding of learning problems, dyslexia and attention deficit disorder from a parent's perspective.

Those wishing to contribute to COEHS endowments, programs and services are encouraged to contact Rick Robinson, Director of Development for the College of Education and Human Services, at 304-696-7081 or via e-mail at

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Tuesday December 8, 2009
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

'Wii are Marshall' raffle tickets available through Dec. 15

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall University's Student Activities Programming Board (SAPB) is raffling a "Wii are Marshall" Nintendo Wii gaming console with proceeds going to the school's 2009 United Way campaign.

Ticket sales already have begun and continue through Tuesday, Dec. 15. Raffle tickets, available in Memorial Student Center Room 2W31, cost $1 each.

For more information, contact James Clark with SAPB at 304-696-6770.

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Monday December 7, 2009
Contact: Lalena Price, Communications Coordinator, 304-746-1989

Authors available to sign biography of 'Ruth Etting: America's Forgotten Sweetheart'

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - A Marshall University professor emeritus with a lifelong interest in American popular music has co-authored the first full-length biography of Ruth Etting, a pioneering singer of the early 20th Century.

Dr. Charles O. Lloyd, who earned his doctorate in Classics from Indiana University and taught at Marshall University for 35 years, co-wrote "Ruth Etting: America's Forgotten Sweetheart" with Chicago native Kenneth Irwin. Both authors will be featured at a book signing from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 19 at Empire Books, 30 Pullman Square, Huntington.

Lloyd's interest in Etting began in the late '60s when he heard her voice on a Columbia re-release. He began to research the recording artist and visited her hometown to interview friends who had known her.

"Ruth Etting was enormously popular throughout the 1930s and her story is yet untold," said Lloyd. "We examine her unique place in the history of American entertainment, specifically her trend-setting vocal style and her pioneering work in phonograph recordings and radio, as well as her enormous popularity throughout the 1930s."

In 2003, Lloyd met Irwin and began a collaboration that led to "Ruth Etting: America's Forgotten Sweetheart," a 360-page hardbound book now available from Scarecrow Press ( Etting (1897-1978) was among the most important performers of her time with an influence that extended from Broadway to radio and film. Her successes include more than 60 popular recordings including a 1928 rendition of "Love Me or Leave Me," which was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2005.

The book recounts Etting's early years as a radio performer who quickly attained national celebrity, her recording career as "Sweetheart of Columbia Records," and her innovative work in film. The authors detail Etting's unhappy marriage to her husband and manager, Martin (Moe "The Gimp") Snyder, her second marriage to pianist arranger Myrl Alderman, and her Colorado Springs retirement. The work also includes anecdotes, previously unavailable photos, and both a discography and filmography.

Lloyd has published articles on the ancient Greek polis, Euripides, Vergil, and the teaching of writing. In keeping with his passion for American popular music, he has played improvisational piano for public events for the past 25 years.

Irwin is a computer specialist who has spent more than 15 years researching the life and career of Ruth Etting. His writings include articles on Etting and the liner notes for the CD Ruth Etting: Glorifier of American Song (1997).

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Monday December 7, 2009
Contact: Pat Dickson, University Communications, 304-746-1971

Marshall University Graduate Humanities program celebrates 30th anniversary with reception, release of anthology

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The Marshall University Graduate Humanities program is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a reception and the release of a Humanities anthology, Constellations, on Friday, Dec. 11 on the South Charleston campus.

The public is invited to join the celebration at 7 p.m. in the Marshall University Graduate College Library.  Copies of Constellations will be available and students in Mark Moore's fall collage seminar will be exhibiting their work.  In addition, there will be music, stories and slides reflecting the breadth and scope of work done by Humanities students over the past 30 years. 

"The Graduate Humanities Program is an interdisciplinary program that brings together faculty and students from a variety of backgrounds to collaboratively explore the intersection of the arts, culture, literature, and history within an open, exploratory, and experimental graduate-level educational environment," Dr. Luke Eric Lassiter, program director, said. 

Recent Humanities graduate Kathryn Santiago edited the anthology, which includes submissions from present and past students and faculty. 

"We wanted to do something to celebrate the 30th anniversary and we hit upon the idea of expanding it from taking submissions from just one class to a program-wide project.  The book's articles are very diverse; there are different writing styles and wildly different subjects," Santiago said.

The anthology contains poetry, essays, fiction and personal narratives along with articles from past Humanities newsletters. In addition, there is a section devoted to the display of work done by students in various art classes.  

The 150-page Constellations was printed by the University of Nebraska Press. 

The Humanities program has gone through several transitional stages since it was first established in 1979.  Its origins can be traced back to a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to establish an M.A. in Humanistic Studies (now the M.A. in Humanities) at what was then known as the West Virginia College of Graduate Studies - or COGS as it was often called.  After a move from Institute to South Charleston in 1992, the graduate college merged with Marshall University in 1997 and was renamed the Marshall University Graduate College (MUGC).

Since 1980 when the program graduated its first student, 134 people have earned an M.A. in Humanities.  It was to commemorate the creative and scholarly work done by students and faculty over the past 30 years that prompted Santiago to take on the task of compiling a volume showcasing their work.

"I can attest that it is a fitting tribute to the diverse perspectives of our program's students and faculty," said Lassister. "Indeed the collection of articles and essays aptly reflects the varied interdisciplinary perspectives and approaches that have long made our program one of the most distinctive in the region."

"I would like to see something along the lines of this anthology continue.  We were able to put out a really high quality product."  Santiago said.   "People who take Humanities classes continue to contribute; they write or draw or work in many other ways.  It would be a wonderful way to showcase their work with an occasional anthology."

For more information about the Graduate Humanities Program or the 30th anniversary celebration call 304-746-1923 or 304-746-2022 or e-mail

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Wednesday December 2, 2009
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

DVDs of Marshall University's Winter Commencement to be available

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall University will make available DVDs of the 2009 Winter Commencement, set for 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5 at Cam Henderson Center on the Huntington campus.

Nancy Pelphrey, Marshall University's coordinator of alumni programs, said a table with order forms will be set up in the upstairs lobby of Henderson Center from noon until commencement is over. DVDs cost $15 each, and payment can be made by using Visa, MasterCard, Discover or cash, or by check made payable to the Marshall University Alumni Association.

The DVDs will be produced by Marshall University Instructional Television Services. For more information, contact Pelphrey at 304-696-3134.

In addition, participants and audience members are reminded of the following important information:

Where to enter

Guests are requested to enter the arena through the ramped 3rd Avenue entrance on Level E, located where the bridge from the parking garage connects to the building. Seating accommodations for persons with disabilities are located on Level E. Ushers will be on hand to offer assistance.


Jim Terry, Marshall's Director of Public Safety, said plenty of free parking will be available on all surface lots at MU. The most convenient parking, he said, is in the parking garage across 3rd Avenue from Henderson Center and on the West Lot at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.

Still time to sign up

Graduates from July and August 2009, and tentative December 2009 graduates may participate in Winter Commencement. Those who have not yet signed up to take part may do so by calling Marshall's Office of the Registrar at 304-696-6410 by noon Friday, Dec. 4.

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Tuesday December 1, 2009
Contact: Jaye Ike, College of Fine Arts, 304-696-3296

Choral Collage Concert debuts Dec. 5 at Marshall University

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Nearly 150 singers from three Marshall University choral ensembles and their conductors will participate in two performances of a Choral Collage Concert beginning Saturday, Dec. 5.

Saturday's performance will take place at 8 p.m. in Smith Recital Hall on the Huntington campus. The second performance will be at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6, also in Smith Recital Hall.

Participating in the concerts are the Marshall University Choral Union, University Chorus and Chamber Choir, conducted by Mark Smith, Robert Wray and Dr. David Castleberry.

"There will be something on the program to appeal to everyone," Castleberry said. "The chance to bring our choirs together is fun for both the singers and audiences."

The choirs will be heard individually and together in works that include Benjamin Britten's "Ceremony of Carols,"  J. S. Bach's Magnificat, Henry Purcell's "Hear My Prayer, O Lord," Morton Lauridsen's "Sure on this shining night," and Gustav Holst's "Christmas Day."

The performances are free and open to the public. For further information, contact the Department of Music at 304-696-3117.

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