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Oklahoma State University - News and Communications
Pickens to Deliver OSU Commencement
STILLWATER , Okla. – Dallas businessman and Oklahoma State University alumnus Boone Pickens will be the featured speaker for Oklahoma State University’s Commencement Ceremony on Dec. 17 in Stillwater. The Graduate College commencement ceremony will be held on Friday, Dec. 16, at 7 p.m. at Gallagher-Iba Arena. Pickens will speak at the two undergraduate commencement ceremonies Saturday, also in Gallagher-Iba Arena. The 10:30 a.m. Saturday ceremony will honor students from the Spears School of Business, the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology, and the College of Human Environmental Sciences. The second ceremony, scheduled for 1:30 p.m., will feature students in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Education, and the Center for Veterinary Health Sciences. “We are honored to have Boone Pickens deliver this year’s commencement addresses,” said OSU System CEO and President David J. Schmidly. “Mr. Pickens has achieved much success since leaving his alma mater and has been a tremendous friend to the university and a strong supporter of academics and athletics.” Pickens, who spoke at OSU’s 1984 commencement, received his B.S. degree in geology in 1951. He worked for Phillips Petroleum for three years before striking out on his own, founding Petroleum Exploration, Inc. and Altair Oil & Gas Co., both predecessor companies to Mesa Petroleum, which he built into one of America’s largest independent natural gas and oil companies. In 1986, he founded the non-profit United Shareholders Association to help shareholders and to inform them of corporate abuses. Today, Pickens operates BP Capital, which manages successful energy-oriented investment funds, and he is pursuing a wide range of business interests, including water marketing and ranch development initiatives to Clean Energy, a company he founded that is advancing the use of natural gas as a cleaner-burning and more cost-effective fuel alternative. Pickens has been a lifelong generous philanthropist, including gifting more than $100 million to a variety of OSU academic and athletic programs, and the OSU football stadium and School of Geology bear his name. His generosity has extended to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, to the American Red Cross for hurricane disaster operations, and to the Oklahoma Heritage Association, in addition to numerous medical research institutions and treatment centers nationwide. Earlier this year, Pickens was selected to receive the Horatio Alger Award, one of the most distinguished entrepreneurial honors in America.
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Oklahoma State University software predicts a movie's fate before its release
STILLWATER , Okla. -- Oklahoma State University professors have developed a system for predicting the box office success of movies before they hit the theatres that could revolutionize the industry. Research by Drs. Ramesh Sharda and Dursun Delen shows their computer-based system can predict exactly how much revenue a movie will generate 37 percent of the time and provide a prediction accuracy rate of at least 75 percent most of the time. The software offers seven types of perameters that are used to determine the revenue range of a movie before its release. Once the revenue range is determined the movie is classified in one of nine categories from ‘super flops’ that take in less than $1 million to ‘super blockbusters’ that gross more than $200 million. “All the variables we use are factors you can usually consider as you are deciding whether to make a movie, so we expect this to be a powerful decision aide for potential investors,” said Sharda with the Spears School of Business at OSU. The OSU Regents professor of management science and information systems and his colleague Delen picked seven factors to help their so-called “neural network” decide on a revenue range for an upcoming movie. The seven variables include the star value of the cast, the movie’s age rating, the time of release against that of competitive movies, the film’s genre, the degree of special effects used, whether it is a sequel or not, and the number of screens it is expected to appear on at its opening. “The wonder of our system is that it takes each variable that can be either positive or negative alone and joins them together to build a model with solid information,” said Sharda. Sharda and Delen have been testing their neural network by using data from actual movies. The pair has input data from 834 movies released between 1998 and 2002 to ensure the system’s reliability. The Oklahoma State University researchers have been working on the project for seven years. “Comparison of our neural network to the models proposed in the recent research literature shows that the neural network does a much better job in this setting,” said Sharda, who adds that future plans include expanding the system for use through a website as well as on DVD. The system is expected to receive a welcome reception from the movie industry which is in a slump this year compared to last. Oklahoma State University is a five-campus, public land-grant educational system that improves the lives of people in Oklahoma, the nation, and the world through integrated, high-quality teaching, research and outreach. Established in 1890, the Stillwater campus is the home of the OSU System. OSU boasts students from all 50 states and 116 nations, and has 185,000 alumni throughout the world. Current enrollment across the OSU System is nearly 33,000.
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OSU Center Honored for Prototype Work with Muskogee Manufacturer
STILLWATER, OKLA. -- The national association for university-based organizations that provide economic development, business and technical assistance to businesses and communities has presented Oklahoma State University its 2005 Award for Excellence in Technology Commercialization. During its annual conference last month in Monterrey, Calif., the University Economic Development Association recognized OSU’s New Product Development Center for its work with Klutts Equipment Inc. The NPDC, which provides prototyping assistance to Oklahoma’s small- and medium-sized, rural manufacturers, developed for the Muskogee firm a new railroad maintenance machine called the “Gon-topper.” The Gon-Topper is a wireless, remote-controlled, self-loading/unloading machine used to load and unload railroad ties, gravel, tie plates, tie spikes and other railroad maintenance supplies from gondola cars. “The Klutts Gon-Topper developed by the NPDC brings to the national and international railroad industry a safe, efficient, flexible and cost effective means to load and unload railroad gondola cars during construction and maintenance of railroad right-of-way,” said Dr. Larry Hoberock, NPDC co-director and professor and head of OSU’s School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. The UEDA competition is held for its members and their designated affiliates to identify outstanding efforts in economic development. The Klutts Gon-Topper was developed by a team of New Product Develop Center engineers and designers comprised of OSU faculty, staff and students led by Marvin Smith, former OSU professor of mechanical engineering technology. Using a concept and input from Klutts Equipment, the NPDC team designed, constructed and delivered a working prototype. Hoberock said the production of the Gon-Topper will result in nine immediate Oklahoma jobs, and 90 expected future jobs and an increase of $1.5 to $2 million in domestic revenues after the completion of a new, 10,500-sq.-ft. production facility now under construction in Muskogee. Klutts Equipment also expanded its market to include global customers. NPDC student interns from OSU’s Agricultural Communications program worked as consultants to help Klutts Equipment develop a communications strategy to promote the company and its new product. The collaboration gave the students a real-world experience, while Klutts received professional communications materials including a new company website, logo, and letterhead. “Receiving this award establishes the NPDC as a national leader and will help us recruit more new product development projects from small, rural manufacturers in Oklahoma,” Hoberock said. “It also demonstrates to the state legislature and the Oklahoma Department of Commerce that the investment they place with us not only will return multiples to Oklahoma on that investment, but has brought national recognition to the State as a leader in this area.” Hoberock said the New Product Development Center at OSU provides a valuable opportunity for existing manufacturers to develop and commercialize their new product ideas. “Since its inception in 2002, the NPDC has already created the potential for 250 new jobs and more than $90 million in new revenues for Oklahoma manufacturers,” Hoberock said. “Every NPDC project is an investment in the future of Oklahoma.” Formerly known as the National Association of Management and Technical Assistance Centers, the University Economic Development Association provides advocacy and information to enhance the performance of university-based organizations and their affiliates providing economic development, business and technical assistance to companies and communities. The association is unique in that it focuses on universities’ role in economic development and provides a forum for a diverse membership with the common goals of enhancing enterprise competitiveness and community wealth. by Marsha Broesche
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OSU, Devon Unveil Lab That Will Keep Oklahoma at Forefront of Geosciences Education
STILLWATER , Okla. -- Three-dimensional visualization technologies Oklahoma State University is using to educate geology students were demonstrated today at the ceremonial dedication of the Devon Energy Geology Laboratory. The lab comes online as OSU seeks to intensify recruitment, retention and graduation of geoscientists as they increasingly are needed to address the world’s growing demand for energy and resources. Located in OSU’s Noble Research Center, the 3,300-sq.-ft. instructional lab in the Boone Pickens School of Geology became operational this fall. Established with $1.5 million of Devon Energy’s $2.3 million gift to OSU earlier this year, the facility is the centerpiece of a relationship between the Oklahoma City-based company and a school where it supports collaborative, productive research and actively recruits new hires. “Since its inception as Oklahoma’s land-grant institution, Oklahoma State University has made significant contributions of new knowledge to the state and the world,” said OSU System CEO and President David Schmidly. “Devon Energy’s gift ensures that OSU continues to be a leading institution in the development of problem solvers adept at addressing questions about oil and gas and water supplies, the environment and many other societal concerns that are growing more crucial every day.” The lab will enhance interaction between Boone Pickens School of Geology faculty and students and Devon Energy that is vital to prospective employee development and geosciences research. Devon is a pioneer in shale production and developed the Barnett Shale field in north Texas that produces enough natural gas daily to heat more than 7,000 homes each year. The lab’s video-conferencing and visualization technologies will support Devon’s work with OSU to adapt production methods specifically for the Woodford and Caney Shale formations and open up a natural gas field in eastern Oklahoma’s Arkoma Basin. “We are encouraged with early results from our shale operations in eastern Oklahoma, and we consider our partnership with OSU instrumental in speeding development in this area,” Larry Nichols, Devon chief executive officer, said. “At a time when much of North America’s oil and gas reserves have been discovered, industry and teaching institutions must continue pushing the limits of technology to keep pace with the world’s growing demand for energy.” Dr. Todd Halihan, OSU assistant professor of geology, demonstrated the visualization technology on a portable 84-inch SmartScreen, one of three, 3-D systems in the Devon lab. Faculty members currently are using the technology to illustrate complex geologic features and help students better comprehend how faults, cross-cutting formations and fluids interact deep within the earth. “Some of our biggest industries and most daunting environmental problems require us to have an instinct about the underground,” Halihan said. “We use our senses to develop instincts, and we’re used to doing that three-dimensionally. Now we have the capability to give future geologists, geophysicists, geochemists and other geoscientists those instincts.” While similar facilities are in use on a few college and university campuses, no 3-D visualization laboratory as advanced as the Devon lab is as accessible, according to Halihan. State-of-the-art communications capabilities complement the lab’s advanced graphic stations, screens and projectors and will support increased interaction between OSU geology faculty and students and industry professionals, high schools and the public. “Without actually taking them there, we can take OSU and high school students into the field with another student group or, for instance, a geoscientist at Devon for a day in the life of a professional,” Halihan said. “If we’re talking to a group of farmers with a water crisis or trying to explain ground contaminants to the people of a city, we can take them underground without taking them through a geology class.” In addition to the lab’s renovation and outfitting, Devon’s gift will be used to fund the professional, personal and academic development of students through graduate fellowships and undergraduate scholarships. The support is increasingly important as higher education institutions must respond to international demand for more geoscientists with innovations in recruiting and teaching, according to Dr. Jay Gregg, Brown Monnett Chair of petroleum geology and head of the Boone Pickens School of Geology. “I used to work in the oil and gas industry, and the very life of a company depends upon the scientists, engineers and other technically trained people who work for it,” Gregg said. “We are not producing enough graduates to fulfill our nation’s needs. That is why this gift from Devon is so important.”
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OSU Stresses Near-term/Long-term Phases of Athletic Expansion
Stillwater , OK – Oklahoma State University System CEO and President David Schmidly emphasized to a group of Stillwater citizens Tuesday night that the expansion of OSU athletics will be done in two phases, delaying the impact on many residents for a number of years. “Our first priority is the area south of McElroy and east of Washington Street, which would meet our near-term needs to improve our women’s facilities, as well as build an indoor facility for football, baseball, track and other sports,” said Schmidly. OSU has already negotiated to acquire about 40 percent of the property in that area, which is predominately rental property. “The plan is long range and will require time to lay the groundwork to move forward with implementation,” Schmidly said. “We have limited dollars to purchase property and while we may not need the land in the long-term area for a number of years, we certainly want to discuss a purchase with anyone in that area who is interested.” Schmidly said the build-out for a new athletic village will occur in two phases – a near-term plan over the next three to five years and a long-term plan. The near-term plan encompasses the area north of Hall of Fame Avenue and south of McElroy Street and between Duck and Washington Streets. The long-term area is north of McElroy to Eskridge Street and between Duck and Washington Streets; as well as the area south of McElroy and between Washington and Monroe Streets. The athletic expansion is only a portion of the new construction for academic and athletic facilities expected to approach $500 million on the OSU campus over the next decade as part of the OSU master plan, which will be presented to the OSU/A&M Regents for approval in January.
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Donald W. Reynolds Foundation Gifts $14.8M to OSU's School of Architecture
STILLWATER – Oklahoma State University announced today a $14.8 million gift from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation to renovate and expand facilities for the university’s nationally renowned School of Architecture. The new facility will be named the Donald W. Reynolds Architecture Building. “This is a historic gift to OSU and our School of Architecture and will have a huge and lasting impact on our university and our students,” said OSU System CEO and President David J. Schmidly. “The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation is a leader in supporting education and this gift will elevate our architecture school to new levels of achievement. We thank them for their generosity and their leadership.” The award is the single largest contribution Oklahoma State has received from a private foundation. In announcing the grant, Donald W. Reynolds Foundation Chairman Fred W. Smith stated, “We are pleased to be able to reward the excellence of the Architecture and Architectural Engineering programs at OSU. These award-winning students will have a facility that matches their academic programs.” The nearly $15 million project will create 45,000 square feet of new space and renovate 37,000 square feet of space in the existing OSU Architecture Building. The facility will complete a key element of OSU’s historic Bennett Master Plan. “Receiving the largest foundation gift in the history of OSU is an enormous accomplishment for Oklahoma State as we continue to strive in broadening our base of private support,” said OSU Foundation President and CEO Kirk Jewell. The new building will provide OSU with new campus amenities including a 300-seat auditorium, multimedia classrooms, a visualization/computer lab, gallery space and an expanded architectural library. Spaces dedicated to the School of Architecture will include new design studio space, a model shop, expanded administrative areas to accommodate new faculty and various other spaces which will further enrich the program. “The generous support provided by the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation will provide new opportunities for collaboration between the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology (CEAT) and other colleges on campus,” said Dr. Karl Reid, Dean of CEAT. “The new and renovated facility will serve as a gateway to the last sector of the central campus to be developed in keeping with the vision and plan of former OSU President Henry G. Bennett.” The new building is slated for completion in spring 2009, which will coincide with the School of Architecture’s centennial anniversary. “This gift will have a transformational impact on OSU and the School of Architecture,” said Randy Seitsinger, School of Architecture Professor and Head. “The new building will provide faculty and students spaces that will facilitate innovative study and exploration, and will also allow the school to not only energize its undergraduate programs but to also develop new graduate programs in architecture and architectural engineering.” The design process for the future building began with a comprehensive four-day design Charrette in April 2004, which brought architecture faculty, students and alumni together to kick-off the design process with a combined effort which consisted of over 1,000 man hours. Participants explored a variety of creative ideas that led to the initial concept for the new and renovated Donald W. Reynolds Architecture Building. The final design of the facility will be led by School of Architecture faculty members working with an Architect of Record firm. The university has committed to raising $3 million in additional funding to establish an endowment for the school that will provide funding to keep the facility in first-rate condition into the future. The OSU School of Architecture is one of the strongest in the country with emphasis on professionally oriented programs in architecture and architectural engineering. OSU architectural students consistently win student design competitions, and graduates are in leadership positions with prestigious firms in Oklahoma and around the world. A number of graduates head their own firms. The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation is a national philanthropic organization founded in 1954 by the late media entrepreneur for whom it is named. Headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada, it is one of the largest private foundations in the United States.
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OSU Professors Give Iraq 'Direction' For the Future
STILLWATER, OKLA. – The road to recovery for Iraq is being mapped with assistance from Oklahoma State University. Dale Lightfoot, professor and head of the OSU geography department, recently established Geographical Information Science (GIS, GPS, and remote sensing) centers at two Iraqi universities that will enable the new government to map out essential planning needs including city transportation routes, water plant location sites and utility line routes. "Iraq's infrastructure was so deteriorated because of the sanctions incurred during the Saddam Hussein regime that it had become isolated from many new scientific advances," Lightfoot said. "It's through international collaborative programs like this that the Iraqi people are finally able to open up to the outside world and bring back to Iraq the best the world has developed over the last 20 years." As a subsidiary for a $5 million OU/OSU/Langston project named Al Sharaka (meaning "The Partnership" in Arabic), Lightfoot led the U.S. government-funded team that established GIS centers at Baghdad University of Technology and at Salahaddin University in northern Iraq. Lightfoot's team refurbished lab space, installed a GPS base station and computers for GIS and image processing, and established state-of-the-art learning and research labs at the centers. Lightfoot said the centers will allow the government to make sound decisions about the investment of scarce resources for city infrastructure, agriculture, water use, energy, transportation, public safety, environmental protection and marketing purposes. The centers are currently active in research including analysis of the marsh zones in southern Iraq, classification of soils in the Dyala region, as well as environmental mapping, Lightfoot said. Other projects include thermal imaging techniques to study oil refineries and the development of a digital-geotechnical map of Baghdad. Tom Wikle, OSU professor/A&S associate dean and colleague to Lightfoot, said the Iraqi researchers were eager to collaborate and learn more about GIS technology. "It was like going back in time because they were still using late 1980s technology," Wikle said. "I think this project was the first time many of these researchers had the opportunity to collaborate. In a sense this project is giving them more than just equipment; it's also giving their scientists the tools to communicate with each other." Lightfoot said the centers are an example of what can be achieved through international collaboration. "These centers are part of a real success story, and we will continue strengthening these relationships," he said. "It is an example of international outreach at its finest."
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OSU President David Schmidly Recommends Additional Dialogue on Master Plan
Stillwater, OK -- With new construction for academic and athletic facilities expected to approach $500 million on the Oklahoma State University campus over the next decade, OSU System CEO and President David Schmidly said additional dialogue is needed to adequately address matters raised during recent community meetings with owners of property north of the football stadium where plans call for construction of a first-class athletic village. As a result, Schmidly said the university will postpone presenting the campus master plan to the OSU/A&M Regents until January to allow more time to work with the City of Stillwater, citizens and other constituents to address concerns and clearly layout the vision. “The $500 million in anticipated new construction for academic and athletic facilities over the next decade rivals in scope and magnitude the successful MAPS program in Oklahoma City and the Vision 2025 program in Tulsa,” Schmidly said. “The economic impact to Stillwater would be unparalleled in the history of this city in our opinion and the benefits to OSU in having the absolute finest research and learning facilities as well as athletic facilities would be transforming in moving OSU into the top 75 public institutions in the United States. That said, however, the sheer size and long-range nature of the overall project dictates we should move in a thoughtful manner,” he continued. “While we have held more than 50 meetings over the past eight months to gather input and discuss the master plan, additional time to listen and respond will be helpful. There’s been some misinformation and we want to clear it up as we go forward,” Schmidly said. “We must do everything we can to make sure everyone understands the master plan and also OSU’s plans, particularly at this point when the OSU Foundation has begun a careful process to purchase property on a voluntary basis for future expansion north of the stadium,” he added. Schmidly said the build-out for a new athletic village will occur in two phases – a near-term plan over the next three to five years and a long-term plan. The near-term plan encompasses the area north of Hall of Fame Avenue and south of McElroy Street and between Duck and Washington Streets. The long-term area is north of McElroy to Eskridge Street and between Duck and Washington Streets; as well as the area south of McElroy and between Washington and Monroe Streets. “Our first priority is the area south of McElroy and east of Washington Street, which would meet our near-term needs to improve our women’s facilities, as well as build an indoor facility for football, baseball, track and other sports,” said Schmidly. “The plan is long range and will require time to lay the groundwork to move forward with implementation,” Schmidly said. “We have limited dollars to purchase property and while we may not need the land in the long-term area for a number of years, we certainly want to discuss a purchase with anyone in that area who is interested. “Our athletic village, which will be built solely with private dollars, will be nothing short of spectacular and will provide Stillwater, OSU and the State of Oklahoma with a strong economic engine,” he said. More than 80 percent of the property in the purchase area is rental property. Officials at the OSU Foundation reported that about 100 property owners initially signed up for voluntary appraisals and additional owners are signing up on a regular basis. Foundation officials said they already have a significant portion of the land in the near-term area south of McElroy and east of Washington under contract to purchase. In commenting about the potential use of eminent domain to acquire property Schmidly said, “We prefer not to purchase land that way. It is always an option, but we want to work with property owners, listen and address their needs, and, most importantly, make sure they receive a fair price for their property. We will be particularly sensitive to owner-occupied homes. Owner-occupied residents deserve nothing less in my opinion.” In addition, concerns have been expressed at recent meetings about the future of Hall of Fame Avenue, a major east and west artery. The street will most likely remain closed north of Boone Pickens Stadium until the construction in and around the stadium has been completed. The university will work with the city to address the long-term future of Hall of Fame as well as other options for east-west traffic. “We have considered a number of options as it relates to traffic flow around and through the campus during the development of the master plan,” Schmidly said. “We all agree on the need for an efficient and safe traffic and pedestrian system developed in the best long-term interest of OSU and Stillwater.” Schmidly expressed appreciation to the City of Stillwater and Stillwater Public Schools for their willingness to work with OSU. “Everyone recognizes OSU is an invaluable community asset to Stillwater and annually its athletic program pumps more than $32 million into the local economy. We must recognize Stillwater is a valuable community asset to OSU and it behooves us to work collaboratively to build not only a great university but also a great city. I would not like to imagine where OSU would be without Stillwater and where Stillwater would be without OSU.” Schmidly and Mike Holder, OSU’s vice president for athletics, will be on hand to discuss OSU’s plans at a public meeting organized by the city Tuesday night at the library. While the property purchase for the athletic village is currently in focus, the first projects as part of the master plan will be the construction of an inter-modal transportation complex near Hall of Fame Avenue and Monroe Street, and a $70 million dollar advanced science, research and teaching building for academics.
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Neurotoxicologist to discuss perils of nasal passages
Vulnerability of the brain from exposure to poisons through the nasal passages will be the subject of a lecture Friday, Nov. 18 at the OSU Center for Veterinary Health Sciences. Dr. David C. Dorman, division director of biological sciences at the Chemical Industry Institute for Toxicology, will give the 2005 Sitlington Lecture in Toxicology at 2 p.m. in McElroy Hall. Now in its sixth year, the lecture series was initiated by Dr. Carey Pope, professor and Sitlington Chair in toxicology in OSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine, to promote visibility of research in toxicology, the scientific study of the adverse effects of chemicals on living systems including cells, organisms and ecosystems. Dorman’s presentation, “The Holes in Your Nose: Why Nasal Toxicology Matters,” will detail ongoing biomedical research to determine how ubiquitous toxicants including heavy metals as well as emerging nano-materials may reach the brain and elicit toxic effects via the nose. “Heavy metals are a classic toxicant, and most people understand that exposure to lead, mercury and cadmium can have toxic consequences,” Pope said. “Dr. Dorman has shown that some of these heavy metals can actually be transported into the brain through the olfactory nerves that extend from the central nervous system into the nose.” According to Pope, Dorman’s findings describe a novel manner in which the brain may be exposed to toxicants. Unlike lipid soluble chemicals, heavy metals and other chemically charged, or water-soluble, compounds can be blocked from the brain by the blood-brain barrier. “Chemicals that are very lipid soluble will go into the brain easily because they can pass through cell membranes lining blood vessels that comprise the blood-brain barrier,” Pope said. “Most pesticides we study pass easily into the brain because they are lipid soluble.” “However, chemicals that are charged, such as heavy metals, have a more difficult time getting into the brain,” Pope said. “Dr. Dorman’s work on transport of some heavy metals through the olfactory tracts demonstrated it is possible for some toxicants to get around the blood-brain barrier, and it’s presently unclear how many other types of chemicals may be able to be transported into the brain through this route.” Pope added, “It’s interesting to consider this alternative way of possible exposure to neurotoxicants, as the types of effects they may have and how fare these chemicals may distribute one they get into the brain are currently unclear.” In addition to heavy metals, Dorman will talk about his studies on a common air pollutant, hydrogen sulfide. He also has an interest in emerging nano-materials, an emphasis shared by Pope and other toxicology researchers in OSU’s physiological sciences department collaborating with Dr. Wei Chen and other colleagues at Nomadics Inc. “Around the world, nano-materials are being manufactured with an array of chemical substituents, including heavy metals,” Pope said. “It has been reported that by the year 2015, one trillion dollars of our economy could be generated by applications of these types of nano-materials.” “At the same time, very little is known about the toxic potential of nano-materials in either environmental or human health,” he said. “Our current research is focused on learning the toxic potential of some heavy metal-containing nano-materials in cells and whole animal models.” In addition to his post at the CIIT in Research Triangle Park, N.C., Dorman is an adjunct professor of toxicology, physiological sciences and radiology at North Carolina State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Visitors can meet Dorman from 1 – 2 p.m. in the Alumni Conference room in McElroy Hall prior to this presentation. The OSU Center for Veterinary Health Sciences’ Sitlington Lecture series is supported by the Sitlington endowment, the OSU Foundation and the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Office of Research and Graduate Studies.
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Bride Gives Up Wedding Gifts to Increase Scholarship Endowment
STILLWATER, OKLA. – Cara Cowan is not your average bride. Though seemingly level-headed, some of her fellow soon-me-missus’ may argue she’s more crazy. Cara agreed to forego gravy boats, coffeemakers and other highly demanded wedding gifts in lieu of increasing her family’s endowed scholarship for Native American students at Oklahoma State University [OSU].“Rather than registering for stuff I won’t use or don’t need, [fiancé] Doug and I are designating non-profits for folks to donate to in honor of our marriage,” said Cowan.Honoring their parents’ commitment to education and challenging fellow tribe members to attain an excellent education, young alumni and siblings Brett and Cara Cowan established the Beverly and Clarence “Curly” Cowan Endowed Scholarship Fund for Native American engineering students at OSU in Sept 2001 at the tender ages of 26 and 28, respectively. “Almost everything in our lives centered around education, and Cara and I knew the best way to honor our parents’ retirement would be to help other Native American students obtain their degree,” said Brett. Education has always been a central part of the Cowan family - even during mealtimes. “I remember instances where we would do math word problems on napkins as our family was eating dinner at Mazzio’s,” said daughter Cara.That commitment to education, resonated with Cara and Brett over the years. Among them, the Cowans hold 10 degrees from OSU. Cara earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1997 and a master’s degree in telecommunications management in 2002. Brett holds bachelor’s (1999) and master’s (2000) degrees in civil engineering. Beve and Curly achieved both their bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and share a combined 70 years of teaching experience. All are active participants in the Cherokee Nation where Cara serves as an elected Tribal Council Representative for Rogers County. A recent report issued by Black Issues in Higher Education ranked OSU as the No. 2 producer for all American Indian bachelor degrees combined in the nation with 1,662 American Indian students enrolled at OSU in 2005. The Cowans hope that their gift will continue to give hope to and inspire future Native America students. While these numbers illustrate an obvious need to further educate Oklahoma’s minorities, the efforts of the Cowan children continue to give hope to future Native American students.“When great leaders come along, you try to do everything you can to support them,” said Jovette Dew, Multicultural Engineering Coordinator. “It’s leaders like Brett & Cara who see an unmet need and find a way to leave a dramatic imprint on future minority students.” While few recent graduates endow scholarships at such a young age, even rarer is the Cowans’ dedication to their gift. “My experiences at OSU helped me realize how much I enjoy the small-town environment, and solidified my desire to stay in state and make a better life for others,” remarked Cara.The Cowan scholarship is available to any student from Seminole High School, Rogers County or Sequoyah County who is Native American and majors in Engineering at OSU. Cara Cowan and Doug Watts will exchange vows Nov. 19 in Claremore. Other charities benefiting from their generosity include: the American Diabetes Association, the American Indian Science & Engineering Society, the Cherokee Heritage Center, the Cherokee Nation Education Corp. and the Rogers Cherokee Association. For more information on the OSU Foundation, log on to our Web site at www.osuf.org or call 405.385.5100.
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