Owl Sightings Summer 2011
A news supplement for alumni and friends of Southern Connecticut State University
OWL Summer | 11 a news supplement for alumni and friends of Southern Connecticut State University Dear Friends of Southern, The lazy days of summer are upon us, but life is far from slow here at Southern. As you will read in this supplement to Southern Alumni Magazine, we are about to undertake one of the busiest summer construction programs in recent years, highlighted by the renovation of the former student center as a new home for our School of Business. Also beginning this summer is our new Southern Academy, an intensive six-week program aimed at providing young New Haven children with the essential educational tools they need for success in school and in life. In addition, we present some of the highlights of an outstanding past year, filled with academic accomplishment, inspiring special events, and athletics triumphs. I wish you an enjoyable summer with friends and family and thank you for your ongoing support of Southern Connecticut State University. Stanley F. Battle Interim President Congratulations Class of 2011! United in accomplishment and pride, some 1,500 members of the Class of 2011 were honored at Southern’s undergraduate commencement ceremony, held on May 27 at the Connecticut Tennis Center in New Haven. Byron Pitts, chief national correspondent for “CBS News,” delivered the keynote address, stressing the importance of humility. “Be humble, yet bold,“ said Pitts, an Emmy Awardwinning journalist, who is also a contributing correspondent to CBS’ “60 Minutes.” “Each of you has the power to be a leader, but seek to be a servant leader.” Southern also held two graduate commencement exercises on May 26 in Southern’s John Lyman Center for the Performing Arts. Carol Stiff, ’83, vice president of programming and acquisitions for ESPN, spoke at the afternoon ceremony for the Schools of Arts and Sciences, Business, and Health and Human Services. Bishop Theodore L. Brooks Sr. delivered the graduate commencement address for the School of Education at an evening ceremony. Bishop Brooks is the pastor of Beulah Heights First Pentecostal Church in New Haven, the president and chief executive officer of the Beulah Land Development Corporation, and serves on the board of directors of many organizations. A New Home for Business On May 19, Southern broke ground on the future home of the School of Business — a state-of-the-art facility to be created by renovating SCSU’s former Student Center. Construction is slated to start this summer and be completed in about a year. Depicted in the artist’s rendering at left, the redesigned 23,000 square foot building will house classrooms, faculty offices, meeting rooms, a stock trading room, and the latest in technology. “The faculty, staff, students, and members of the business community understand the value of a business school that provides 21st century technology and facilities,” says Ellen Durnin, dean of the School of Business. “It will assist us in preparing graduates in high-need workforce areas.” Funding for the $6.6 million project comes from several sources, including allocations from the state Bond Commission and CSUS 2020, a capital improvement project for the Connecticut State University System. Bill Cosby Shines Spotlight on Education Legendary comedian Bill Cosby made his second visit to the New Haven area this spring, stopping at Southern and local neighborhoods, speaking at elementary schools, and stressing the importance of education. NBC’s “The Today Show,” chronicled his most recent day in the city, later interviewing Cosby and Interim President Stanley F. Battle live at NBC’s New York studios. Cosby’s message is in step with efforts by the university and the city to bridge the achievement gap and to help students in grades K-12 realize that going to college is an attainable dream. This summer, Southern launches the Southern Academy, designed to help city school children enhance their skills in key academic areas, from reading to calculus. (For more on Southern Academy, see right.) Other initiatives include: a summer literacy camp for elementary school students and their teachers planned by Michael Sampson, dean of the School of Education, who is a nationally recognized expert in reading; a conference for New Haven teachers focusing on classroom support hosted by the School of Education; and a pilot program designed to infuse Southern faculty and students into New Haven elementary schools beginning in the fall of 2011. Southern faculty and New Haven teachers also are working together to write a new curriculum that will better meet the needs of urban learners. OWL Sightings Interim President Stanley F. Battle [CENTER] and Bill Cosby met with community and campus leaders in March, prior to a rally for education awareness at Lincoln-Bassett School in New Haven. Southern Academy Launched T his summer, the university welcomes a promising new group of students to campus — 25 fourth graders who comprise the first class of Southern Academy. The newly launched academy was developed to help city school children enhance their skills in key academic areas, from reading to calculus to computer science. The on-campus program, which runs for six weeks, provides the students with classroom learning opportunities, as well as exposure to other aspects of university life, including athletics and the performing arts. Looking forward, tutoring also will be available for the children during the regular school year, and their academic and social progress will be tracked through the middle school years into high school. Community involvement, including mentoring, is critical to the success of the initiative. Educational opportunities also are available to parents, who are asked to join their children in signing a contract of commitment to the program. There is a strong incentive for the children to participate: those who graduate from high school and meet Southern’s application standards will earn scholarships to attend the university. Next year, the academy will be expanded to 75 students of varying ages, building to a final capacity of about 200 students in the future. Southern Brings Music to New Haven Diane Bish, one of the world’s most popular and influential organists and host of the “Joy of Music” television series, performed to an enthusiastic audience of more than 500 at Yale University’s Battell Chapel on April 9. Bish appeared with a choir composed of local and campus vocalists. The event raised almost $15,000 to support arts programs at Southern, including the SCSU Choir’s trip to London to participate in the celebratory events before the 2012 Olympic Games. bleptimist a r u O Inc ern h t u So Michael J. Fox, who rose to fame playing a variety of iconic roles — including Alex P. Keaton on the NBC hit “Family Ties” and Marty McFly from the “Back to the Future” trilogy — delivered the Mary and Louis Fusco Distinguished Lecture to a sold-out audience of 1,500 at Southern on May 13. In his compelling lecture — “Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist” — Fox drew on his characteristic humor and wit to tell the audience how he became a happier, more satisfied person despite battling Parkinson’s disease. A portion of the evening’s proceeds support Southern’s Endowed Southern Slated for Prestigious Science Program Awards of Excellence, a merit-based scholarship program. S outhern was one of only 12 colleges and universities in the country invited to join the Howard Hughs Medical Institute’s Science Education Alliance (SEA) this year as a full member. As part of the alliance, nearly two dozen freshmen in Southern’s Honors College will collaborate with hundreds of undergraduate students from throughout the country in SEA’s first project, the National Genomics Research Initiative. Students in the program will complete two research-driven courses, in which they will study bacterial viruses collected from local soil. The courses will be repeated with a new group of incoming freshmen at the start of the next three academic years. Southern is the only university or college in Connecticut selected for full membership since the program was launched three years ago. The recognition builds on several recent achievements in the sciences. In November, Southern was chosen as the host site of the Connecticut State University System Center for Nanotechnology, the first facility of its kind in the state. Southern also will begin offering classes this summer for a graduate certificate program in nanotechnology and a master’s degree in applied physics is pending final approval. Associate Professor of Biology Nicholas Edgington and Assistant Professor of Biology Elizabeth Lewis Roberts will team teach courses to freshmen in the Honors College as part of the National Genomics Research Initiative. Summer | 2011 Catch the Owl Spirit! 2011 October 29 An action-packed, campus-wide celebration for the entire family. & Distinguished & Outstanding Alumni Awards October 28 Your gift has a real impact . . . Keep a Southern education in reach of talented and deserving students and help the university create a climate of excellence. Michael J. Adanti Student Center Grand Ballroom Join Southern in celebrating this year’s honorees For more information call Alumni Relations at (203) 392-6500. In the next issue of Southern Alumni Magazine . . . • Owls for Peace: In 2011, the Peace Corps is celebrating its 50th anniversary. At least 66 Southern graduates have volunteered with the organization — including two who are currently serving. Read about some of their life-changing experiences. Plus the latest news and developments from campus. • Owl Sightings is a supplement to Southern Alumni Magazine, which is published two times a year. OWL Sightings Please make a gift to our students today by returning the envelope provided or visit us online at www.giving.SouthernCT.edu. Meet NATIONAL CHAMPION Amanda Thomas C ompeting at the NCAA Division II national championship, sophomore swimming sensation Amanda Thomas took first place in the 200-yard individual medley â€” finishing with a time of 2:00.88, just .32 seconds less than the NCAA record. (The individual medley consists of four strokes: the butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle.) Other strong performances followed at the championship. Thomas was the runner-up in the 400-yard individual medley, breaking the previous NCAA record with a time of 4:15.59. She also finished second in the 200-yard butterfly and fourth in the 200-meter backstroke. In all, Thomas collected All-America honors in four events at the championship, which was held in San Antonio, Texas, in early March.