August 2011 News Releases

Wednesday August 31, 2011
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Parkersburg student first to receive graduate assistant award

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - The first Kristin McComis Parsons Memorial Graduate Assistant Award, established by LinguaCare Associates, Inc., of Charleston, was presented to a first-year Marshall University graduate student in a ceremony Wednesday, Aug. 24.

The award of $3,000, which will be given annually, goes to a graduate student in speech pathology and is combined with a tuition waiver for the recipient.

Emily Rowe of Parkersburg was honored as the first recipient of the award by Jackie Frazier and Vickie Pullins, graduates of Marshall's Department of Communication Disorders in the 1970s and founders of LinguaCare. The ceremony took place in the Department of Communication Disorders in Smith Hall on Marshall's Huntington campus.

Parsons, also a graduate of the program and a LinguaCare employee, died in January of this year of leukemia.

"Kristin was a hard-working, dedicated and excellent student clinician," said Kathy Chezik, recently retired chair of the Department of Communication Disorders. "Equally important, she was a compassionate, humble and loving person, who always worked hard and always maintained a positive attitude toward life."

Parsons was considered one of the Department of Communication Disorders' most outstanding graduates. She was a 1995 B.A. summa cum laude graduate with a 3.97 GPA, and a 1996 M.A. graduate. She was awarded Marshall's George J. Harbold Award for having the highest GPA at 4.0 in the graduate program.

Her score of 800 on the National Examination in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology (NESPA), the national certification examination, has never been exceeded by any Marshall student.


Photo: Jackie Frazier, right, one of the owners of LinguaCare Associates, Inc., looks on as Emily Rowe of Parkersburg displays the first Kristin McComis Parsons Memorial Graduate Assistant Award. Photo by Liu Yang/Marshall University.

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Tuesday August 30, 2011
Contact: Leah Clark Payne, Media Communications Specialist, 304-696-6397

Marshall University Alumni Association kicks off fall football season, new school year with 2011 HERDFEST

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - The Marshall University Alumni Association, in conjunction with 93.7 The DAWG, is kicking off the football season and new school year with its annual HERDFEST beginning at 6 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 1 at Pullman Square in Huntington.    

The 2011 HERDFEST will feature several musical groups including Jabberwocky, a student and Marshall alumni group which performs at 6 p.m., and Parrots of the Caribbean, a Jimmy Buffett tribute band which takes the stage at 7 p.m.   Additionally, Marshall cheerleaders, Marco, school administrators and DAWG personalities will attend.

"We are so excited for 2011 HERDFEST because it signals the beginning of a new school year and the return of our students, and Marshall University football," said Tish Littlehales, executive director of alumni relations at Marshall University.  "There's going to be lots of food, games and prizes at Pullman Thursday evening and we encourage everyone to come out for some great family fun."

Football fun continues on Sunday, Sept. 4 as the Marshall University Thundering Herd faces off with the West Virginia University Mountaineers in Morgantown in the sixth Friends of Coal Bowl. 

Those who can't make it to the game can head to Harris Riverfront Park in Huntington for a community-wide football  party, courtesy of the MU Alumni Association and 93.7 The DAWG.  Football fans can watch the game live on a 275-foot television screen situated by the Ohio River. Fans are encouraged to bring a can of food to help stock the shelves at the Huntington Area Food Bank.

Gates open at 1 p.m. with kickoff scheduled for 3:30 p.m.  The event is free and open to the public. Although fans are prohibited from bringing in food and drinks, concession stands will be available.

Future alumni events this fall include:

  • Sept. 24-MU Alumni Association hosts a Game Day Reception prior to the Marshall versus Virginia Tech game.    The reception begins at 11:30 a.m. and tickets are $15.  Tickets may be purchased through the alumni office by calling 304-696-2901.

  • Oct. 1-Travel Doctors Travel Agency and the Alumni Association are sponsoring a motorcoach trip to Louisville, Ky., for the Marshall-Louisville football game.  The cost is $149 per person.  Tickets for the football game are not included.  Call Travel Doctors at 304-562-0881 prior to Sept. 16.  Seating is limited.

  • Oct.8-Marshall University Alumni Association Herd Fan Cruise.  The cruise departs on Oct. 5 and returns on Oct. 8 in time for the pre-game tailgate and MU-University of Central Florida football game.  Contact Steve Ashworth at 877-822-8201 for more information about the cruise.   Contact the Big Green Scholarship Foundation at 304-696-3385 for information about the tailgate.

  • Oct. 10-15-Homecoming 2011.  Visit the Marshall University Alumni webpage at for more information and a complete listing of fall football activities.

Contact the MU Alumni Association at 304-696-2901 for details on 2011 HERDFEST or any of the activities listed above.

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Monday August 29, 2011
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

College of Health Professions dean selected to serve on Allied Health NetWork Steering Committee

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Dr. Michael Prewitt, dean of Marshall University's College of Health Professions, has been selected to serve as a member of the Allied Health NetWork Steering Committee of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) by its current members. His selection was approved by the president of the ACCP, Dr. Suhail Raoof.

Prewitt has been a member of the ACCP since 2000 and has been a Fellow since 2001. He has been at Marshall since July 2010.

The two-year term on the Allied Health NetWork Steering Committee begins in October 2011.  The goal of the committee is to promote the prevention and treatment of diseases of the chest through leadership, education, research and communication by providing a forum for members with similar interests to network, and to create opportunities for collaboration in education, leadership, research and advocacy activities.

Committee members serve as expert resources to groups internal and external to the ACCP and provide expertise and personnel to support evidence-based guideline development of the Health & Science Policy Committee. 

The ACCP has 17,750 members from more than 100 countries. The members represent the range of specialties contributing to the field of chest medicine, including adult and pediatric pulmonary medicine, critical care medicine, sleep medicine, and cardiovascular medicine and surgery. The ACCP and its NetWorks reflect the diversity of pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine professionals from all over the world.

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Monday August 29, 2011
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Herd supporters encouraged to participate in College Colors Day

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall University fans choose many ways to show their support and pride for the Thundering Herd. Marshall encourages fans to show their support by wearing their green Marshall gear every Friday throughout football season.

The university kicks off Green Fridays on Friday, Sept. 2, with participation in the seventh annual National College Colors Day. Fans across the nation are encouraged to wear their college colors and support their favorite university.

College Colors Day, organized by the Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC), coincides with "back to school" and the kickoff of intercollegiate athletics. By participating in College Colors Day, Marshall is continuing a tradition of encouraging members of the Marshall community to wear their Marshall gear on this special day.

Marshall University employees and students are encouraged to participate in Green Fridays to show their pride on campus throughout the season.

In addition, employees of local businesses may take part in a contest in which they wear their Marshall gear and have the opportunity to win prizes from the university. Any businesses wanting to participate must register with Mallory Jarrell, Marshall University Marketing and Branding Coordinator, to be eligible to win. Businesses may register at

Businesses need to submit their location and the number of participating employees. A winner will be chosen every Friday before a home football game throughout football season. Because Marshall's final game of the regular season with East Carolina is on Saturday, Nov. 26 (Thanksgiving weekend), that winner will be chosen Friday, Nov. 18.

For more information, contact Jarrell at 304-696-3490 or by e-mail at

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Friday August 26, 2011
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Japan Outreach Initiative program coordinator begins two-year stay at MU

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Azusa "Hanah" Yamada is looking for an audience. More precisely, she's looking for lots of audiences.

As Japan Outreach Initiative (JOI) program coordinator at Marshall University, Yamada is spending the next two years in Huntington demonstrating various aspects of the Japanese culture for any interested community groups or schools.

"I would like to make U.S. people familiar with Japan," she said. "That's the bottom line."

The purpose of the Japan Outreach Initiative is to promote interest in and the study of Japan through grassroots exchanges between the U.S. and Japan. It is jointly administered by the Laurasian Institution and the Japan Foundation. The JOI position at Marshall is funded by the Japan Foundation, the Center for Global Partnership and Toyota Motor Manufacturing, West Virginia.

Yamada, 23, is housed in the Department of Modern Languages on MU's Huntington campus and reports to Natsuki Anderson, an associate professor in Modern Languages, and coordinator of the Japanese program at Marshall. Yamada has been at Marshall for about three weeks.

Anderson said she has no doubt that Yamada will succeed in her efforts to provide cultural enrichment throughout the area.

"I thought she was different from the other coordinators," Anderson said. "The others were more reserved and serious. She is more relaxed and very friendly. She is very outgoing and social."

Dr. David J. Pittenger, dean of MU's College of Liberal Arts, said having Yamada on campus benefits students and the community.

"From what we know about economic markets, the world is flat and becoming smaller," Pittenger said. "West Virginia currently enjoys many economic ties with Japan as more companies engage in international business. Having Ms. Yamada on campus will allow our students and the residents of the greater Huntington area to learn more about the Japanese people and their culture. Marshall University is dedicated to preparing its students to live and work in an international business environment that will benefit this great state."

Yamada said she is thrilled to be in Huntington and at Marshall. She is a graduate of Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, and is a native of Aichi prefecture, which is located in the middle of Japan.

"This type of job was kind of my dream," Yamada said.

Yamada gives presentations on Japanese festivals and ceremonies, the everyday Japanese lifestyle, school life in Japan, and Manga and Anime (comics and animation). She conducts activities such as trying on Kimono/Yukata, and making crafts such as Origami, dolls and fans. She conducts chopstick challenges and she even makes sushi rolls and a Japanese breakfast.

"The role of my job is to be a bridge between the U.S. and Japan," Yamada said. "I can provide various cultural experiences for any community groups or schools interested in Japan."

Yamada also conducts language classes. Beginners learn conversational phrases and Japanese characters and business people learn business phrases and Japanese manners. She also gives Japanese quizzes, sings Japanese songs and reads Japanese stories in Japanese and English, mostly to children.

All of her presentations and activities are free of charge. Anyone wanting to talk with Yamada about a possible presentation may call her at 304-696-7257 or e-mail her at

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Thursday August 25, 2011
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Trip to Africa subject of promotional night sponsored by MUAA

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - The Marshall University Alumni Association is hosting a promotional night to introduce a 2012 trip to Africa with Ntaba Tours.

The informational session will run from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 8, at the Marshall University Foundation Hall, Home of the Erickson Alumni Center on MU's Huntington campus. Light refreshments will be served. The trip, sponsored by the MU Alumni Association, is planned for Sept. 14-25, 2012.

Those attending the session will learn about the experience in Africa with Ntaba Tours, a U.S.-based travel company specializing in travel to southern and east Africa. The trip includes unique tours and wildlife safaris. Destinations include Capetown, Winelands, Kapama and many more.

Anyone planning to attend the promotional night is asked to RSVP by calling 304-696-2901 or 304-696-3134 before Sept. 8.

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Friday August 19, 2011
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Marshall University School of Pharmacy names associate dean

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Dr. H. Glenn Anderson Jr., former associate dean of academic affairs at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, has been named associate dean for academic and curricular affairs at the Marshall University School of Pharmacy. He began his duties at Marshall on Wednesday.

Anderson was a founding faculty member of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, where he began his academic career in 1996 as an assistant professor of pharmacy practice. While in that position, he developed the school's first residency program. He was promoted to associate professor in 2002 and trained the school's first post-doctoral fellow in drug information. Anderson then served as Tech Tech's interim associate dean of curriculum from 2005 until 2006, when he was named associate dean of academic affairs.

In addition to his teaching, mentoring and administrative roles at Texas Tech, Anderson has held several practice positions, including clinical pharmacist with the Northwest Texas Healthsystems, clinical pharmacist with Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Managed Care, director of the Drug Information Residency Program and director of the Drug Information and Health Policy Development Center.

He also has worked as a pharmacist at the Veteran's Affairs Medical Center in Huntington and the Ohio State Medical Center in Columbus. He served as a consultant for the Geriatric Medication Project sponsored by Merck-Medco Containment Services.

"I look forward to the challenges and opportunities involved in helping to establish the Marshall University School of Pharmacy," said Anderson. "The university's slogan, 'We Are…Marshall,' invites interpretations of uniqueness and of excellence that are worthy goals for a new program. I firmly believe the school has and will continue to aggregate the resources required to meet these goals. This is a seminal time for the university and I am humbled to play a part."

Dr. Kevin Yingling, pharmacy school dean, said, "We are most pleased to have Dr. Anderson join our program. He has spent more than 15 years in pharmacy education and more than 20 years in pharmacy practice. These experiences have equipped him to provide excellent leadership in the areas of student affairs, academic assessment and curriculum development."

Yingling noted that Anderson also will serve as a member of the school's Pharmacy Executive Council.

Anderson received his bachelor's (1991) and his doctoral (1994) degrees in pharmacy, both from Ohio State University. In 1996, he completed a two-year, post-doctoral fellowship in drug information, also at OSU.

He was recognized with the Lourdes M. Cueller Award in 2004, the Collaborative Practice Award in 2002, and the Research and Education Foundation Research Award in 1998, all from the Texas Society of Health-System Pharmacists.

Anderson is an active member of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, the Texas Society of Health-System Pharmacists, and the Panhandle Society of Health-System Pharmacists.

For more information, contact Anderson at or 304-696-2305.

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Friday August 19, 2011
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Marshall wraps up record freshman welcome week activities

More than 2,000 new students crack open the books this fall;
rates for returning students higher, as well

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - In a colorful collage of rainbow-colored tee shirts, nearly 2,000 students joined in a group "We Are Marshall" cheer next to Marshall University's famed Memorial Fountain this morning to mark the end of a packed week of freshman orientation activities.

The photo of the group is symbolic of a scene from the 2006 globally distributed "We Are Marshall" movie but it also gives the Class of 2015 students an opportunity to commemorate the beginning of their college careers, said Dr. Gayle Ormiston, Marshall provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.

While enrollment figures are not yet final, it appears Marshall's freshman enrollment will top last year's record of 2,051.  Overall enrollment also looks like it will be higher, as well, Ormiston said, but he emphasized student headcounts this early in the semester are subject to change as students add and drop classes and late registrations come online.

"One statistic with which we are particularly pleased is our overall retention rate for returning students, which is up about 3.8 percent right now," Ormiston said.

"At Marshall, student success is our top priority and we've begun a number of new intensive advising programs and student resources that are making a difference. The increase in student retention shows that we're making progress toward our goal, and we are going to keep moving in that direction."

To view video clips and photographs of today's cheer and Week of Welcome activities, visit and click on the freshman group photo.


Photos: (Above) Nearly 2,000 students gathered on the Memorial Student Center plaza today for the Class of 2015 photograph. (Below) Beth Wolfe, director of Marshall's Office of Recruitment, leads the freshmen in the "We Are Marshall" cheer during Thursday's Freshman Convocation. Photos by Rick Haye/Marshall University.

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Thursday August 18, 2011
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Marshall's Safety Technology Program reaccredited

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall University's Bachelor of Science in Safety Technology Program has been reaccredited by the Applied Science Accreditation Commission (ASAC) of ABET, Inc.

Marshall submitted a Self-Study Report and the ASAC conducted a site visit Nov. 7-9, 2010. The findings of the ASAC resulted in the reaccreditation.

Dr. Allan Stern, chair of the Division of Applied Science and Technology, said being accredited by ABET is important to current and future Marshall students in the Safety Technology Program.

"The Safety Technology Program finds being accredited by ABET helps our students acquire meaningful professional career positions with nationally recognized companies regionally and nationally," Stern said. "These companies seek graduates from accredited safety programs.  Being recognized as one of only seven colleges and universities having this specific accreditation helps in student recruitment."

Pat Conlon, a professor in Safety Technology, helped prepare the Self-Study Report.

"We're very pleased," said Conlon, who noted that only 30 schools in the country have a B.S. in Safety Technology Program. "Our program is in good shape. The ABET criteria is a very good blueprint of the knowledge and skills needed in the safety industry. The ABET accreditation is a standard of excellence that our students, faculty, and alumni can be very proud of."

The Safety Technology program is multi-disciplinary, with a focus on the application of science, law, management and psychology of accident prevention and worker health. The program's goal is to prepare students to be competent safety professionals through a combination of academic, hands-on, industrial experience, combined with research by faculty and community involvement.

Enrollment in the program has steadily increased over the past five years. Current enrollment is 72 full-time and nine part-time students, which is approximately a 32 percent increase over enrollment during the last general review. The program faculty consists of five full-time members

For more information, contact Stern at 304-696-3069.

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Wednesday August 17, 2011
Contact: Ginny Painter, Communications Director, Marshall University Research Corporation, , 304-746-1964

Transition announced at Marshall institute

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Dr. Eric B. Kmiec, director of the Marshall Institute for Interdisciplinary Research (MIIR), has resigned his position at Marshall University effective Oct. 15 to become chairman of the chemistry department at Delaware State University in Dover, Del.

Marshall President Stephen J. Kopp has named Dr. John M. Maher, Marshall's vice president for research, interim director of the institute. Kopp said a national search for the new director will begin immediately.

"Since we formed MIIR nearly four years ago, Marshall has been working to develop a significant biotechnology research presence that is attracting private investment and federal grants," Kopp said. "The progress that has been achieved is echoed by our recent announcement that we have reached the halfway mark in 'Bucks for Brains' fundraising.

"Our mission to produce patentable scientific breakthroughs through pioneering research continues, and I thank Dr. Kmiec for his leadership and assistance as we have built the institute from the ground up. I'm confident he has helped lay the groundwork for continued success in attracting this type of development to Marshall and the entire state of West Virginia."

Kmiec said, "My time here has been a wonderful experience that has helped me grow as a scientist and as a leader. While I look forward to the challenges awaiting me in Delaware - including building the foundation for a brand new program in the discipline that has been my life's work, chemical biology - I will always appreciate the opportunity that Marshall afforded me. I know that MIIR will continue to grow stronger and become even more successful. I have invested a large part of myself in getting the institute up and running, and will continue to support MIIR and Marshall University in any way I can in the future."

Kmiec came to Marshall in January 2009 after serving as a professor of biology at the University of Delaware and director of applied genomics at the Delaware Biotechnology Institute.

His wife Jennifer, the university's associate vice president for economic development, has also resigned her position and will be joining her husband in Delaware.

MIIR was created in 2008 through the state's "Bucks for Brains" West Virginia Research Trust Fund and its precursor, the Eminent Scholars Recruitment and Enhancement initiative. The goal of the institute is to develop a focused program of cutting-edge research dedicated to creating new high-tech businesses. Since its inception, MIIR has grown from six to 13 employees, and has announced co-development agreements with two major biotechnology companies.

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Tuesday August 16, 2011
Contact: Lalena Price, University Communications, , 304-746-1989

14th annual Paint the Capital City Green rally is sold out

CHARLESTON - The 14th annual Paint the Capital City Green celebration coming to Charleston Embassy Suites on Thursday, Aug. 18, is a sellout.

Thundering Herd fans with advance only tickets will hear from Doc Holliday, Marshall University's head football coach, athletic director Mike Hamrick and President Stephen J. Kopp as well as key members of this year's team as they talk about the future of Marshall University football. Fans will also enjoy a pep rally atmosphere that includes a tailgate spread, entertainment by mascot Marco, the cheerleading squad, dance team and members of the Marshall University Marching Thunder. Festivities begin at 6 p.m. and the formal program begins at 7 p.m.

The event, presented by Friends of Coal, is the nation's largest indoor pep rally for Thundering Herd alumni, fans and friends. Paint the Capital City Green is hosted by the Big Green Scholarship Foundation, the Marshall University Alumni Association, the Greater Kanawha Valley Alumni Club and the Charleston Quarterback Club. Event proceeds benefit the Big Green Scholarship Foundation and the Marshall University Alumni Association.

For more information, call The Big Green Scholarship Foundation at 304-696-7138 or e-mail

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Monday August 15, 2011
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Marshall Recreation Center to host third annual RecFest

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - More than 90 exhibitors will be showcased for Marshall University students and community members this weekend during the third annual RecFest at the Marshall Recreation Center on MU's Huntington campus.

RecFest 2011, presented by Chase Bank, runs from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 20. It is one of the final events of Marshall's Week of Welcome, which begins Wednesday, Aug. 17. Admission is free. Fall classes start Monday, Aug. 22.

RecFest provides an opportunity for incoming and returning students, faculty and staff to learn about the options available to them both on campus and in the Huntington area.

A variety of local businesses will be set up on the recreation center's 18,812 square feet of basketball court space. Several of the exhibitors will have giveaways and raffles. Huntington Cycle & Sport will give away a bicycle, the Cabell-Huntington Health Department will offer free vaccinations and health screenings, the Marshall Recreation Center will feature an interactive fitness area complete with personal trainers, Village Collection have a raffle for TOMS Shoes, and Wendy's will serve free treats.

Entertainment planned during the event includes The Drew Dunbar Band presented by Route 60 Music performing outside. WMUL-FM's Rudeboyz will provide music inside the recreation center, the recreation center will offer free repelling from the third floor to the basketball courts, T-shirts will be given out, and the first 1,000 visitors will receive free magnetic dry erase boards courtesy of MU Against Tobacco.

A large number of Marshall University student groups and campus organizations will be present at RecFest as well.

For more information, call 304-696-4732 or visit the Marshall Recreation Center welcome desk.

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Thursday August 11, 2011
Contact: Leah Clark Payne, Media Communications Specialist, 304-606=6397

Marshall University School of Pharmacy names new department chair

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Dr. Kimberly Broedel-Zaugg, formerly a professor of pharmacy at Ohio Northern University, has been named Founding Chair of Pharmacy Practice and Administration for the Marshall University School of Pharmacy. Broedel-Zaugg began her duties with Marshall July 17.

Currently she is responsible for development of the department and assisting the leadership team as it builds the pharmacy program. When the first class is admitted in 2012, Broedel-Zaugg will assume teaching responsibilities as well. Her areas of expertise include sterile products, over-the-counter products, and health care systems.

"I am absolutely ecstatic about my new position at Marshall and am looking forward to building this program from the ground up," Broedel-Zauug said. "I really can't wait to have students in the hallways."

"With over 10 years of experience in pharmacy practice and 17 years of experience in pharmacy education, Dr. Broedel-Zaugg has an extensive background in both the scholarship and practice of pharmacy," said Dr. Kevin Yingling, dean of the school of pharmacy. "She will provide excellent leadership for the development of the department of pharmacy practice and administration."

Broedel-Zaugg graduated from Ohio Northern University in 1981 with a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy. Completing her Master of Business Administration in 1989 at Ashland University, she went on to fulfill the requirements for a doctorate in pharmaceutical administration from Ohio State University in 1993.

While completing her advanced degrees, she worked as a staff pharmacist at Akron City Hospital in Akron, Ohio, as well as Doctors Hospital and Massillon State Hospital in Massillon, Ohio. She gained additional experience as a relief pharmacist for several home health agencies.

In 1994, Broedel-Zaugg joined the faculty at Ohio Northern University as an assistant professor and she received tenure in 2000. She was promoted to full professor in 2004.

Broedel-Zaugg has been awarded numerous teaching and mentoring honors in her field including the 2006-2007 Kappa Epsilon Unicorn Award for national service and leadership. Additionally, she was awarded the Kappa Epsilon Advisor of the Year award for 2008-2009 and the Kappa Epsilon Career Achievement Award in 2011. Kappa Epsilon is a national professional pharmacy fraternity.

For more information, contact: Broedel-Zauug at 304-696-2306.

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Thursday August 11, 2011
Contact: Lalena Price, University Communications, , 304-746-1989

Marshall paleontologist helps make scientific history with 78-million-year-old 'pregnant plesiosaur'

Unique fossils of adult animal and its embryo provide first evidence
of live birth among these prehistoric marine reptiles

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall University paleontologist Dr. F. Robin O'Keefe and Dr. Luis Chiappe, director of the Natural History Museum (NHM) Dinosaur Institute in Los Angeles, have determined that a unique specimen now displayed in the museum's Dinosaur Hall is the fossil of an embryonic marine reptile contained within the fossil of its mother.

Their findings will be published tomorrow in the journal Science.

The 78-million-year-old, 15.4-foot-long adult specimen is a Polycotylus latippinus, one of the giant, carnivorous, four-flippered reptiles known as plesiosaurs that lived during the Mesozoic Era. The embryonic skeleton contained within shows much of the developing body, including ribs, 20 vertebrae, shoulders, hips and paddle bones. The research by O'Keefe and Chiappe establishes that these dual fossils are the first evidence that plesiosaurs gave birth to live young, rather than hatching their offspring from eggs on land.

Although live birth (or viviparity) has been documented in several other groups of Mesozoic aquatic reptiles, no previous evidence of it has been found in the important order of plesiosaurs. O'Keefe and Chiappe have also determined that plesiosaurs were unique among aquatic reptiles in giving birth to a single, large offspring, and that they may have lived in social groups and engaged in parental care.

"Scientists have long known that the bodies of plesiosaurs were not well suited to climbing onto land and laying eggs in a nest," said O'Keefe, who is an associate professor of biology at Marshall. "So the lack of evidence of live birth in plesiosaurs has been puzzling. This fossil documents live birth in plesiosaurs for the first time, and so finally resolves this mystery. Also, the embryo is very large in comparison to the mother, much larger than one would expect in comparison with other reptiles. Many of the animals alive today that give birth to large, single young are social and have maternal care. We speculate that plesiosaurs may have exhibited similar behaviors, making their social lives more similar to those of modern dolphins than other reptiles."

Plesiosaurs have no known living relatives, but were common in the world's oceans during the Age of Dinosaurs. They were among the top predators in the Western Interior Seaway, the vast, tropical body of water that split North America during the Cretaceous when waters from the Arctic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico flooded onto the continent and met.

The remarkable NHM specimen was discovered in 1987 by Charles Bonner on the Bonner Ranch in Logan County, Kan. Virtually complete except for parts of the adult's neck and skull, the "mother" specimen and her baby were given extensive conservation by NHM and then mounted for display by Phil Fraley Productions (Patterson, N.J.) with the supervision of O'Keefe and Chiappe. The specimen is currently on display in the Dinosaur Hall, the new 14,000-square-foot exhibition at NHM featuring more than 300 fossils and 20 complete mounts of dinosaurs and sea creatures.

O'Keefe's research on plesiosaurs has taken him around the globe in search of these prehistoric creatures. He is credited with the discovery of a new plesiosaur, Tatenectes laramiensis, a type of marine animal that lived during the late Jurassic age when large dinosaurs, including apatosaurus, stegosaurus and allosaurus, roamed the Earth. O'Keefe made the discovery in what is now the Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming.

O'Keefe has taught biology and paleontology at Marshall University since 2006. He teaches human anatomy and comparative vertebrate anatomy and serves as a graduate adviser. He received his bachelor's degree in biology from Stanford University and his doctorate in evolutionary biology from the University of Chicago. He has published numerous scientific publications, and has served as a scientific adviser for National Geographic, IMAX and the Discovery Channel.


About Marshall University

Marshall University is the oldest public higher education institution in West Virginia and one of the region's most dynamic universities, serving students from 47 states and more than 60 countries. Marshall offers undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs and competes in Division I intercollegiate sports in Conference USA. Located in the college town of Huntington, W.Va., Marshall is known for its safe and beautiful campus, dedicated professors, small class size, successful graduates and great value. For more information, visit We Are…Marshall.

Photo information:

(Above) Robin O'Keefe, courtesy of Marshall University
(Middle) Plesiosaur giving birth. Image courtesy of Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
(Below) Photo provided by the journal Science shows the detail of a Polycotylus latippinus' embryo. Photo courtesy Science

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Wednesday August 10, 2011
Contact: Jaye Ike, College of Fine Arts, 304-696-3296

Choral Union to begin 20th year with Castleberry as director

HUNTINGTON, W.Va.-- Marshall University's Choral Union is seeking new singers to join it, according to Dr. David Castleberry, who is beginning his 20th year as director of the group. Rehearsals begin Tuesday, Aug. 23. 

This fall, the ensemble will join with the MU Orchestra and the West Virginia Symphony Chorus to present performances of Franz Joseph Haydn's Mass in D Minor, also known as the "Nelson" Mass, along with Ludwig van Beethoven's Choral Fantasy, Castleberry said. The Haydn work is one of the finest settings in the choral-orchestral literature and the Beethoven work features a virtuoso part for solo piano. Concerts will take place on Dec. 1 and 2.

Since Castleberry serves as director of both the MU Choral Union and the West Virginia Symphony Chorus, combining forces for this concert is a natural collaboration, he said. Last spring, the Choral Union joined with the Huntington Symphony in a presentation of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana. "Any time we undertake a large production of this kind," Castleberry said, "we depend upon the cooperation of a lot of people. Working with Dr. Reed Smith and the Marshall University Orchestra is something we always enjoy. Combining choral forces will make this an even more lavish production." 

Smith agrees. "The Marshall University Orchestra will benefit greatly from collaborating with the Choral Union and the West Virginia Symphony Chorus on two important works of the Classical Period," she said. "I am especially pleased that we will be featuring our outstanding new piano faculty member, Dr. Henning Vauth, on Beethoven's rarely performed Choral Fantasy. This performance will be a treat for our local audience."

Under Castleberry's leadership, the Choral Union has performed works ranging from Handel's Messiah and Verdi's Requiem to Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms and Walton's Belshazzar's Feast. Rehearsals are held each Tuesday evening from 7 to 9 p.m. in Smith Music Hall, Room 150. Music is available for purchase at rehearsal.

The Choral Union welcomes adult singers from throughout the Tri-state. No audition is required, but previous musical experience is helpful. For further information, persons may call 304-696-2963.

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Monday August 8, 2011
Contact: Ginny Painter, Communications Director, Marshall University Research Corporation, 304-746-1964

MIIR director to be featured speaker at Huntington's Disease Society of America event

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Dr. Eric B. Kmiec, director and lead research scientist at the Marshall Institute for Interdisciplinary Research (MIIR), will be the featured speaker at the Huntington's Disease Society of America (HDSA) "Dining for a Cure" event on Sunday, Aug. 21, from 5-9 p.m. at Bridge Road Bistro in Charleston.

Kmiec will be speaking about his research on inherited disorders. Widely recognized as a pioneer of gene editing a technique in which synthetic DNA molecules are used to patch or repair mutations in human chromosomes Kmiec's research focuses on exploring therapies for diseases such as Huntington's disease, spinal muscular atrophy and muscular dystrophy.

"One of the most rewarding things about biotechnology and biomedical research is knowing that the work you do every day in the lab may someday help real people who are suffering from these terrible degenerative diseases," said Kmiec. "I enjoy sharing the research we're doing at our institute and how it may eventually lead to new treatments for Huntington's disease and other hereditary disorders."

"We look forward to welcoming Dr. Kmiec as our guest speaker and to hearing about the cutting-edge biological research he is doing to support a cure for Huntington's disease," said Caryn Freas, HDSA development director for the Mid-Atlantic Region. "There are many families in West Virginia who are affected by this devastating condition, and research like that being done at Marshall University by Dr. Kmiec provides hope that new therapies are on the horizon."

Huntington's disease is a hereditary, degenerative brain disorder that results in a loss of cognitive, behavioral and physical control, and for which, presently, there is no treatment or cure. The disease slowly diminishes the affected individual's ability to walk, think, talk and reason. According to the HDSA, more than 30,000 people in the United States are currently diagnosed with Huntington's disease. Each of their siblings and children has a 50 percent risk of developing the disease.  

Although medications can relieve some symptoms in certain individuals, research has yet to find a means of conquering or even slowing the deadly progression of Huntington's disease. The first therapy approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration specifically for Huntington's disease was released only one-and-a-half years ago. Several new potential treatments currently are moving through Phase 3 clinical trials.

Before joining MIIR in 2009, Kmiec was professor of biology at the University of Delaware and director of applied genomics at the Delaware Biotechnology Institute. Research in his laboratory is supported through grants from the National Institutes of Health, private research foundations and the Discovery Initiative at the High Q Foundation. He is also the managing editor of Frontiers in Bioscience and is on the editorial board of the Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine.

He has more than 60 issued patents or patent applications to his credit and has founded several biotechnology companies. He is a co-founder and chief scientific officer of OrphageniX Inc., a biotechnology company focused on correcting genes that cause "orphan diseases."

For more information about MIIR or his research, contact Kmiec at (304) 696-3830 or For more information about the Aug. 21 HDSA event, contact Freas at (610) 260-0421 or

The event is being sponsored by Alpha Natural Resources.


About the Marshall Institute for Interdisciplinary Research

MIIR was created at Marshall University in 2008 through the state's "Bucks for Brains" West Virginia Research Trust Fund. Scientists at MIIR are conducting vital biotechnology research designed to improve the lives of people everywhere who suffer from Huntington's disease, muscular dystrophy, sickle cell anemia, juvenile macular degeneration and other diseases. The institute has experienced steady growth since its inception, and in the last two years has signed two co-development agreements with major biotechnology companies.

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Monday August 8, 2011
Contact: Leah Clark Payne, Media Communications Specialist, , 304-696-6397

Marshall University welcomes the Class of 2015

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. Marshall University is welcoming the Class of 2015 this fall with Week of Welcome (WOW), an immersion program designed to facilitate successful entry into college life.

"These first few days of the fall semester give our freshman students a chance to connect with their colleges, their fellow students and the campus," said Dr. Frances Hensley, Senior Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs/Dean of Undergraduate Studies. "In essence, it gives them a chance to own the campus for a few days prior to the arrival of upperclassmen."

Marshall's Week of Welcome officially begins Wednesday, Aug. 17, with move-in day at residence halls, followed by several evening activities including a family picnic, which begins at 5:30 p.m. at South Field. South Field is located near the Henderson Center. A photographer will be available to take pictures of students and their families.

Thursday, Aug. 18, features the President's Freshman Convocation at 9:30 a.m. in the Henderson Center. President Stephen J. Kopp and other university officials will speak to students.

"We know from studies concerned with student success that when new students commit themselves to becoming actively involved in the life of the university community, the people and place connections that develop greatly enhance the prospects for a successful transition to college life both socially and academically," Kopp said. "The various university activities during the Week of Welcome are designed to encourage our students to begin making these connections and take the first steps on their path to personal success."

UNI 100 also kicks off for the Class of 2015 Thursday morning immediately following Convocation. The assembly will most likely be one of the largest class gatherings ever at Marshall University with an estimated 1800 students expected to attend. Following completion of the morning activities, students will break for lunch and then attend individual college sessions in the afternoon. An 8 p.m. performance by comedian Rip Michaels finishes out Thursday's planned activities.

Friday, Aug. 19, begins with a class picture scheduled for 8:30 a.m. around the Memorial Fountain. Plenary sessions are scheduled for the remainder of the day, followed by a dance-a-thon Friday evening beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the Memorial Student Center Plaza.

Additional activities scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 20, include shuttle service to Target for students. The shuttle will leave from the Memorial Student Center Circle on 5th Avenue between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Students can also participate in Rec Fest at the Marshall Recreation Center. The event showcases vendors and groups from around the Tri-State.

"We view WOW as an opportunity to kick-start the freshman year," said Sherri Stepp, Director of University College and WOW organizer. "We want students to understand that the road ahead might be long, but the trip is worth it. There are caring people all over campus, from academic units to the Student Resource Center, who are willing to help them along the way.

Organizers say all freshman students, including commuters, are encouraged to attend all activities. Commuter students may check in on Wednesday in the Rec Center lobby or on Thursday beginning at 7:30 a.m. at the Henderson Center.

For further information, persons may view the WOW schedule online at or contact the Office of Academic Affairs at 304-696-6690.

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Friday August 5, 2011
Contact: Dr. Shari Clarke, Vice President for Multicultural Affairs,, 304-696-4676

Marshall accepting applications for new medical school initiative

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. Marshall University has created a new initiative to enable undergraduate students of color to explore and experience the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine. Applications for  PROJECT  P.R.E. M.E.D. ( P roviding R eal World E xperiences for future M arshall E ducated D octors)  will be accepted through Friday, Sept. 9.

"Through this program, we'll be giving students an in-depth understanding of the processes and preparation for applying to and attending medical school," said Dr. Shari Clarke, Vice President for Multicultural Affairs at Marshall.

The program centers around a visit to the School of Medicine beginning Thursday, Oct. 13, and continuing through Saturday, Oct. 15. Students selected for the program will attend medical school classes, meet faculty and students participating in medical research, receive specific information on medical school preparation including the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) and tour the School of Medicine facilities. Each student also will be linked with a medical school mentor.

Clarke said there will be no charge for the program for the selected applicants. On-campus lodging and meals will be provided as part of the program, and assistance with transportation costs may be available.

Requirements for applicants include a minimum grade point average of 3.0 and college sophomore, junior or senior status. Application materials, which will be evaluated competitively, must include the PROJECT  P.R.E.  M.E.D. application form and resume, a written summary of the student's interest in the program and a letter of recommendation from a faculty member or university administrator.

Application forms are available online at .

Questions about the program may be directed to Clarke by phone at 304-696-4676 or by e-mail at .

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Friday August 5, 2011
Contact: Mallory Jarrell, Coordinator of Marketing and Branding, , 304-696-3490

'Go Green' program gives Herd fans opportunity to encourage local retailers to carry Marshall gear

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall University fans and supporters wanting to see more Thundering Herd merchandise in local stores can share that message with retailers thanks to a new "Go Green" program.

Through the "Go Green" program, fans will be able to take cards designed by the university to retailers that they would like to see carry more Marshall products. The cards ask that the retailers consider offering a greater selection of Marshall University-branded logo items.

"These cards let area businesses know that Marshall fans are shopping in their stores and they want to buy officially licensed Marshall gear," said Mallory Jarrell, marketing and branding coordinator at Marshall. "We hope these show that it's not just great to promote the Thundering Herd, but that it makes good business sense, too, because we know our fans are demanding more Marshall items."

Fans are asked to distribute the cards to retailers that offer no or a limited selection of Marshall items. The cards will be included in the 2011 football season ticket packages and distributed at other university events. Fans also may download and print the cards at , the official web site for the program.

"Many times Herd fans are looking for their green and have a difficult time finding it among the other products that are offered," Jarrell said. "The 'Go Green' program gives our fans an easy way to encourage their local store manager to give them more ways to show their support for Marshall. We really want to get more green out there!"

Proceeds from royalties generated by officially licensed products benefit Marshall programs and scholarship funds. The purchase of more Herd gear means more funds for these programs.

For more information, persons may contact Jarrell at 304-696-3490 or at .


Photos: Both sides of the card developed to assist Marshall fans in letting their retailers know they want to see more Marshall gear available.

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Friday August 5, 2011
Contact: Pat Dickson, University Communications, , 304-746-1971

Local high school students, teachers taking part in summer research program at Marshall University

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall University is serving as host to a group of high school teachers and their students who are participating in a six-week summer research program funded by a National Science Foundation grant.  The program is housed on the Huntington campus.

The five-year grant, Teacher Research Experience for the Advancement of Knowledge (T.R.E.K.), is shared by Marshall, West Virginia University and West Virginia State University.  This is the initial phase of the program which will extend through the fall 2011 and spring 2012 semesters.  Teachers and students from Cabell Midland, Spring Valley and Tolsia high schools received stipends for their participation in the summer program.

Teachers were invited to bring an interested student to work alongside them while engaging in scientific research on a variety of topics.  The 12 participants teamed with scientists working on the cutting edge of nano and biotechnologies.

Topics offered, but not limited to, included RNA structural analysis; design/development of static RNA nanoarchitectures and mobile nanomachines; aging, cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes DNA as a structural material; methods to label specific compounds within nervous tissue of animal models; and microbiology research involving Acanthamoeba.

Teachers taking part are James Coble and Robert McCloud, Spring Valley; Olivia Boskovic and William Strait, Cabell Midland; and Roger Spry, Tolsia.  Students include Jackie Maynard and Diana Ventura, Spring Valley; Mackenzie Blankenship and Kramer Kaplan, Cabell Midland;  and C.J. Shepard,  Taylor Spry and Matt Smiley, Tolsia.

Marshall faculty members participating are Dr. Brian Antonsen, Dr. Eric Blough, Dr. Michael Norton, Dr. Elmer Price and Dr. Wendy Trynza.

A closing reception will take place in downtown Huntington at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 8, at the Marshall Hall of Fame Café, 857 3rd Ave., where students and teachers will present an overview of the research that they conducted alongside MU researchers.

For additional information about the program contact Dr. Tina Cartwright, assistant professor of science education, at, or Stephanie Shrewsbury, outreach coordinator for the College of Science Department of Biology, at

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Friday August 5, 2011
Contact: Ginny Painter, Communications Director, Marshall University Research Corporation, , 304-746-1964

Marshall professor presents oral cancer research

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall University faculty member Dr. Pier Paolo Claudio recently returned from Italy, where he gave two presentations of his research at the International Congress of the Italian Society of Pathology and Oral Medicine.

The conference, which was held June 16-18 in Pugnochiuso, Italy, featured the most recent scientific findings in oral medicine, pathology, maxillofacial surgery, oral surgery and dental hygiene.

Claudio is an associate professor in the cancer biology research cluster at the university's Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and directs a laboratory in the new Translational Genomic Research Institute at the Edwards Comprehensive Cancer Center.

His presentations, which were titled "Cancer stem cells and oral cancer" and "Novel therapies in oral squamous cell carcinoma," highlighted a discovery in his lab of how to isolate and propagate cancer stem cells.

According to Claudio, this advance allows for a two-pronged approach in the fight against oral cancer.

He said, "We can now test and select the most effective chemotherapy options available to eradicate not only the traditional target of tumor bulk but also the highly resistant cancer stem cells we now know to be the major source of recurrence and treatment failure due to their ability to regrow the tumor population. Our research offers the promise of personalized cancer treatment options for the individual cancer patient's needs."

Claudio added that attending the conference and giving the seminars in Italy also gave him the opportunity to highlight the research being done at Marshall.

"This is just one example of the strides we hope to gain through the Translational Genomic Research Institute - translating what we learn in the lab directly to improving bedside care," he said. "We also have recently entered into a Phase I clinical trial for the customized treatment of small cell lung cancer, so that is very exciting as well."

For more information, contact Claudio at 304-696-3516 or

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Thursday August 4, 2011
Contact: Jaye Ike, College of Fine Arts, , 304-696-3296

Artists with Marshall connections to open exhibition Aug. 19

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Visual artists John Farley, director of art galleries at Marshall University, and Marshall art and design major Lorin Michki will present a joint exhibition of their work at Gallery 842 in Huntington beginning Friday, Aug. 19.
Their exhibition, (re)discovery, opens at 6 p.m. Aug. 19 with a reception, which is free and open to the public.
Farley, of Huntington, is a Marshall University alumnus and was recently named The Herald-Dispatch Arts Citizen of the Year. Michki, also of Huntington, is an award-winning student whose emphasis is in printmaking.
The artists will exhibit recent drawings, paintings, prints and other works that explore questions of the human condition, Farley said.
"This exhibition is organized in collaboration with the Cabell Huntington Coalition for the Homeless, whose mission and vital civic services improve the welfare - the human condition - of so many in our community," Farley said. "A percentage of any money generated from the sale of artwork will be donated directly to the CHCH."
The collaboration with the CHCH is rooted in real-world experiences. Michki lost his home and nearly all his possessions in a fire last summer and was faced with the prospect of rebuilding. Farley took him in. At about the same time, Farley was working at Gallery 842 and developed a personal relationship with "Steve," a homeless man who searched trashcans on 4th Avenue for food. Farley frequently buys him a meal.

"Through this exhibition, we seek to promote and foster a spirit of personal and civic engagement, further elevate the arts within our community, and demonstrate the kind of collaborative spirit that will lead to increased awareness and change," Farley said.
For Michki, being asked to exhibit work in a two-man show was flattering.
"When John asked me about doing this show, I felt honored that he would want me to exhibit work with him and knew that this was too great an opportunity to pass down," Michki said.
"My work deals with various issues that relate to the question of 'reality' as being truly real or as something that we make real for ourselves, and how devastating a false reality can be to us in certain instances."
"The process and product of art-making is a universal thing, to be made relevant, enjoyable and accessible to all," Farley said. "We want the community to be able to come in, and buy some art - for it not to be solely a luxury item."
The artists were awarded a grant from Café Huntington and a matching grant from Create Huntington to subsidize the cost of the exhibition, allowing them to make high-quality prints in an effort to make some of the artwork more affordable.

According to its website, Cafe Huntington provides "micro grants" to artists and activists in the Huntington area. Each month, a guest chef prepares a meal for which tickets are available for $10 per person. All of the income from that meal is given as a grant to support a local project, which is selected by vote of the meal attenders.

Create Huntington is a local organization whose focus is on improving community livability and whose projects include matching grants such as the one received by Farley and Michki.
Farley noted  that being awarded the matching grant from Create Huntington was an added bonus.
"Being awarded a Create Huntington matching grant allows us to do even more than we initially envisioned," Farley said. "…  In a sense, it is also a positive affirmation of the things we have chosen to pursue, and it feels great to have already received so much community buy-in."
The exhibition will continue through Friday, Sept.  23. Gallery 842 is located at 842 Fourth Avenue in downtown Huntington. Admission is free and open to the public, Tuesdays through Saturdays, from noon to 7 p.m.


Photos: (Above) Postcard for (re)discovery exhibition includes a work by each of the participating artists. (Below) John Farley (left) and Lorin Michki will present an art exhibition at Gallery 842 beginning Aug. 19.

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Thursday August 4, 2011
Contact: Lalena Price, University Communications, , 304-746-1989

Advance only tickets still available for Marshall University's 14th annual Paint the Capital City Green rally

CHARLESTON - Tickets are still on sale for the 14th annual Paint the Capital City Green celebration coming to Charleston Embassy Suites on Thursday, Aug. 18.

Thundering Herd fans will hear from Doc Holliday, Marshall University's head football coach, athletic director Mike Hamrick and President Stephen J. Kopp as well as key members of this year's team as they talk about the future of Marshall University football. Fans will also enjoy a pep rally atmosphere that includes a tailgate spread, entertainment by mascot Marco, the cheerleading squad, dance team and members of the Marshall University Marching Thunder. Festivities begin at 6 p.m. and the formal program begins at 7 p.m.

Advance only tickets are $50 and must be purchased by close of business on Tuesday, Aug. 16, to be entered into a drawing for the opportunity to win admission and hotel accommodations for two to an away game. For ticket information, call The Big Green Scholarship Foundation at 304-696-7138 or e-mail

The event, presented by Friends of Coal, is the nation's largest indoor pep rally for Thundering Herd alumni, fans and friends. Paint the Capital City Green is hosted by the Big Green Scholarship Foundation, the Marshall University Alumni Association, the Greater Kanawha Valley Alumni Club and the Charleston Quarterback Club. Event proceeds benefit the Big Green Scholarship Foundation and the Marshall University Alumni Association.

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Wednesday August 3, 2011
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Huntington attorney named founding director of Simon Perry Center for Constitutional Democracy

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Patricia Proctor, a Huntington attorney and Marshall University alumna, has been named founding director of the Simon Perry Center for Constitutional Democracy at Marshall. Proctor assumes her duties Aug. 15.

The Center is a new interdisciplinary academic program that honors the lengthy service of Dr. Simon D. Perry, retired professor of Political Science, to Marshall University and its students. It promotes the teaching and original research regarding the formation and evolution of the Constitution, and examines its importance in contemporary legal, political, civil and cultural matters.

Dr. David J. Pittenger, dean of Marshall's College of Liberal Arts, said Proctor embodies all of the ideals and perspectives that will make the Simon Perry Center a success.

"She has a deep knowledge of the law, the Constitution, American history and the American political process," Pittenger said.

Pittenger said Proctor, a member of the law firm of Steptoe & Johnson since 2004, will be teaching courses, directing the university's pre-law program, assisting with various campus and community programs and helping bring grants and private contributions to the center.

"I am honored to be associated with the center, which is a dynamic and meaningful way of paying homage to Dr. Perry's tremendous contributions to the university, and excited about the opportunity to help the center move forward," Proctor said.

Proctor earned her law degree in 1991 from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she was a senior editor of the Journal of International Business Law. In 1984, she graduated magna cum laude from Marshall, where she was editor-in-chief of The Parthenon, the school's daily newspaper, and was elected to Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership honor society.

After graduating from law school, she spent one year as a law clerk to the Honorable Stewart Dalzell of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, assisting the judge in both civil and criminal matters.

Upon finishing her clerkship in 1992, she joined the Philadelphia law firm of Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, where she was a partner from January 2000 until returning to West Virginia to join Steptoe & Johnson in August 2004. She concentrates her practice in complex commercial litigation and employment law, at both the trial and appellate levels.

Proctor sits on the boards of directors of the Society of Yeager Scholars at Marshall, the Huntington Museum of Art, the West Virginia Public Broadcasting Foundation and the TEAM for West Virginia Children.

She has taught political science at Marshall as an adjunct professor and been a citizen member of the editorial board of The Herald-Dispatch in Huntington.

Perry, a native of Gilbert, W.Va., taught at Marshall for 48 years (1962 to 2010) and developed many of the new program's signature courses. He said Constitutional Democracy is a perspective that studies how people as well as social and political forces shape the Constitution and its interpretation, and how the Constitution defines us as a nation.

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Monday August 1, 2011
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Marshall University engineering professor named interim dean of CITE

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Dr. Wael Zatar, a professor of engineering at Marshall University, has been named interim dean of the school's College of Information Technology and Engineering (CITE), effective today (Aug. 1). Zatar replaces Betsy Dulin, who resigned to return to teaching.

Dr. Gayle Ormiston, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, said a national search for a permanent dean will take place this fall.

"I am confident Dr. Zatar will be able to lead the college in its transition from Dean Dulin to the next permanent dean," Ormiston said. "He is very enthusiastic about the future of the college and understands its needs. Dr. Zatar has a lot of experience and an outstanding record as a scholar."

Zatar has been at Marshall since August 2006. He previously served at the University of Kentucky and West Virginia Tech.

"I am very excited about the opportunity to serve as interim dean," Zatar said. "We will continue to work on important projects, such as the new engineering building and accreditation issues. We also are creating new areas of emphasis in our engineering program, which is very important."

Zatar received both his bachelor's and master's degrees in civil engineering from Cairo University in Egypt, and his Ph.D., also in civil engineering, from Saitama University in Japan.

He has conducted state-of-the-art research for 21 years and has established strong partnerships and liaisons with funding agencies, industry and research institutions.

Zatar's research interests include bridge management, construction materials, highway testing standards, advanced experimental destructive and non-destructive testing techniques, reinforced and prestressed concrete, ultra high performance concrete, fiber reinforced polymer composite bridges, green and sustainable highway structures, health monitoring of transportation infrastructure systems, structural repair and retrofit, and specialized rehabilitation systems.

He has 91 technical publications and has written a number of book chapters addressing concrete structures.

At Marshall, he teaches Engineering Materials, Structural Analysis, Structural Steel Design, and Reinforced Concrete Design. In 2009, Zatar received the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute Distinguished Young Educator Achievement Award.

He is a member of 15 professional organizations, including the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Transportation Research Board, American Concrete Institute, and Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute.

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