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September 2012, Issue 10

WAVES Dr. Tony Atwater, President

A Monthly Newsletter for Faculty, Staff, Alumni and Friends of Norfolk State University Achieving Excellence. Success Beyond Measure.



resident Barack Obama came to Norfolk State University Tuesday, September 4. The president, who spoke before a crowd of 11,600, opened his speech by joking that the NSU men’s basketball team’s historic NCAA victory back in March ruined his brackets but that he held no hard feelings. During his 20-minute speech, President Obama, who stood in front of a sign that read “Forward,” said that his opponent wants to take the country

backwards and is counting on young people to be complacent and not vote. Norfolk State was his last stop before attending the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., where First Lady Michelle Obama spoke that night. He watched her speech from the White House with his daughters. Referring to her speech, the president said that he would try not to let them see him cry when their mother spoke. "When Michelle starts talking,” he said, “I start getting all misty."

Strategic Plan Sets Stage for Bold Action

President Atwater Presents State of the University Address NSU President Tony Atwater delivered the first State of the University Address Tuesday, August 14, to more than 700 faculty, staff, administrators and supporters. The speech, “The Courage to Prevail,” used the men’s basketball team’s historic National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament victory as an example of Norfolk State’s fighting spirit. He said that the number 15 seed Spartans could have given up when they faced the number 2 seed University of Missouri because everyone predicted that they would lose. Going forward, Norfolk State, like the basketball team, will continue to demonstrate that it possesses the talent, vision and will to achieve and excel. As part of Dr. Atwater’s initiative to better position NSU as a resource and partner in the region, he said that the University is undertaking a comprehensive, new economic impact study to measure and document the magnitude of the financial and economic benefits that NSU brings Norfolk and the region. The study is expected to be completed by December. In addition, the University seeks to Continued on page 3

The 2012-2018 Norfolk State University Strategic Plan sets the stage for bold and focused action that will further distinguish NSU as a leader and an institution renowned for its outstanding academic programs, innovative research, scholarship and global outreach. The strategic plan is an essential element enabling the University to adapt and take advantage of the opportunities presented by an expanding global marketplace for education, research, training and economic development. Guided by the University’s mission, vision and core values, the plan represents windows of opportunity and NSU’s commitment to positioning NSU as a leading institution with faculty and students who are fully engaged in the intellectual, cultural and community environment of NSU. When viewed in its totality, the 2012-2018 Strategic Plan is NSU’s road map for guiding its future and for utilizing its many strengths and assets to respond to and anticipate opportunities that are unfolding nationally and globally. See page 5 for the new mission and vision statements and the new core values.

Achieving Excellence. Success Beyond Measure.

Norfolk Alumni Chapter Receives the First President’s Golden Sabre Award


he Norfolk Chapter of the Norfolk State University Alumni Association Inc., is the first recipient of the President's Golden Sabre Award. Presented by President Tony Atwater at the NSUAA's 19th Annual Leadership Conference, this award is designed to recognize the chapter that made the largest donation during the 2011-12 fiscal year. Over the past year, the Norfolk Chapter hosted numerous fundraising activities that have allowed it to continue the legacy of giving. "Our ultimate satisfaction is knowing [that] we are helping NSU students with our fundraising efforts,” said Norfolk Chapter President Al Steward, ’83 & ’92.

NSU recognizes that its more than 30,000 alumni are one of its most valued resources and encourages alumni participation in shaping the institution’s future. That recognition and belief served as an impetus for establishPresident Gregory Grimes, Norfolk Alumni Chapter representatives ing the Golden Sabre NSUAA Heather Johnson Wall and Vincent Harris and President Tony Atwater. Award program. in addition to receiving the award, will To be eligible for the award, particibe honored at a ceremonial dinner pating chapters had to be financially hosted by the president. Each recognized by the NSUAA and the participating chapters had to submit all member of the winning chapter will receive a certificate of appreciation monies to the NSU Foundation on or from Norfolk State University. before June 15. The winning chapter,

David Lacks Discusses Freshman Reader

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks


Jeri Lacks-Whye, granddaughter of Henrietta Lacks, and David “Sonny” Lacks, the son of Henrietta Lacks, talked with students, faculty, staff and the community about Henrietta Lacks and the use of her cells for research and development.

avid “Sonny” Lacks visited Norfolk State University to discuss the personal and ethical issues related to The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. The book, a New York Times best seller, is the initial reading for the University’s new freshman reader program. The on-stage conversation was held with Lacks and his daughter Jeri Lacks-Whye. Lacks, the son of Henrietta Lacks, offered a first-person perspective on the collision between ethics, race, and the commercialization of human tissue, as well as how the experience changed the Lacks family forever.

Henrietta Lacks was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells, taken without her knowledge in 1951, went on to become the first immortal human cells ever grown in a laboratory. Those cells, nicknamed HeLa, became one of the most important tools in modern medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, and more. Though Henrietta died in 1951, her cells—alive and growing to this day—are still the most widely used cell line in the world. The Lacks family didn't learn that the cells existed until the 1970s, when scientists wanted to do research on Henrietta’s children—Lawrence, Elsie, David “Sonny” Jr., Deborah and Zakariyya—to learn more about the remarkable “immortality” of Henrietta’s cell line. Her children were then used in research without their consent, and without having their most basic questions about the cells answered. Henrietta’s cells have helped biotech companies make millions of dollars, yet her family has never benefited from the commercialization of HeLa cells.



Making Waves is published by the Office of Communications and Marketing.




(757) 823-8373 Tony Atwater, Ph.D. President Stephen McDaniel Interim VP for University Advancement Cheryl Bates-Lee AVP of University Relations Stevalynn Adams Regina Lightfoot Christopher Setzer





Making Waves

Have You Heard? Dr. Cynthia Burwell, chair of the Health, Physical Education and Exercise Science Department, served as a writer for the American College Health Association’s Healthy Campus 2020 program. Healthy Campus 2020 will help institutions of higher education become healthier places to live, work, learn and play. Dr. Charles Ford, History Department chair and professor of history, recently published a book, “Elusive Equality,” with Dr. Jeffrey Littlejohn. They will also publish an article on President Harry S. Truman and Civil Rights in the Ford anthology, “A Companion to Truman,” which is expected to be available October 2. Col. Vincent Quarles,’87, recently assumed command of the U.S Army Corps of Engineers Afghanistan Engineer District-South. Previously, Quarles commanded the USACE Chicago District from 2008 to 2011 before Quarles going to the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, where he earned a master’s in National Resource Strategy. Dr. Linda Gagen, assistant professor of health, physical education and exercise science, completed the nationally recognized Learning Resource Network (LERN) Certified Online Instructor Program. LERN is the leading provider of online professional development in higher education. To earn the certification, Dr. Gagen completed a very intense and demanding process which included critique and student evaluation of her online courses, completion of three online training courses, and passing an exit knowledge exam. Dr. Aftab Ahmad, associate professor of computer science, was appointed editor in chief of a new journal, Advances in Internet Technology, published by Human and Sciences Publication.

Andre B. Christian, a social work major, won a scholarship from the Hampton Roads LGBT Pride organization. Christian is a community educator for ACCESSAIDS care and secretary of LEGASI. Dr. Jessica Parrot, assistant professor in the Nursing and Allied Health Department, was awarded a $100,000 grant by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and a $20,000 grant by the Obici Healthcare Foundation. Dr. Ashley Haines, assistant professor of biology, was awarded a $30,000 grant from the Thomas F. and Kate Miller Jefress Memorial Trust in support of chemical, medical and other scientific research. Dr. Aprillya Lanz, associate professor of mathematics, was awarded a research grant by the Mathematical Association of America in the amount of $27,500 for the project period of June 1 through July 31. Dr. Darlene Colson, associate professor of psychology, and Dr. Kathryn Simms, research methodologist/statistician for the College of Liberal Arts Research Center, received a $40,000 Spencer Foundation grant for the period April 1, 2012 through August 31, 2014. Dr. Carla D. CotwrightWilliams, assistant professor of mathematics, is serving as the American Mathematical Society’s Congressional Fellow for 2012-13. Fellows spend a year working on the staff of a member of Congress Cotwright-Williams or a congressional committee as a special legislative assistant in legislative and policy areas requiring scientific and technical input. Dr. Carla Miller, professor of sociology, was selected to participate in the 2012 ICPSR Summer Program course on Quantitative Analysis of Crime and Criminal Justice sponsored by the Bureau of Justice Statistics. She also was chosen to participate in the Emerging

Scholars Interdisciplinary Network Fellowship Program in Applied Multiethnic Research at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich. Both programs are nationally prestigious and competitive. Miller

Norfolk State University has been selected by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to participate in RWJF’s prestigious New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program (NCIN). During the 2012-13 academic year, schools will receive grants to support students in their accelerated baccalaureate and master’s degree nursing programs. Diverse: Issues in Higher Education named six NSU women athletes as Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars for the 2011-12 academic year. Marian Brooks, women’s basketball; Jasmine Frazier, women’s volleyball; Naeemah Brooks, women’s tennis; and the trio of Sheila-Marie Smith, Jessica Overton and Thea Aspiras, women’s bowling, were honored for their accomplishments in the classroom, on the athletic field, and in their community service aspirations. Dr. Rhonda Ellis, assistant professor of mathematics, and senior mathematics major Jessica Jamison participated in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Summer Research Team Program for Minority Serving Institutions. They participated in a 10-week research project with the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) at the University of Maryland, College Park, Md. Dr. Camellia Okpodu, professor of biology and director of the Group for Microgravity and Environmental Biology, and Dr. Malikah Abdullah, associate professor of biology, had their paper “Characterization Okpodu of Genetic Similarity of a Hampton Road (Virginia) Live Oak (Quercus virginiana Mil. L.) to a historic Q. Virginiana using RAPD Markers” accepted for publication as a research article in the Journal of Plant Sciences. In addition, Dr. Okpodu recently formed an international collaboration with physics professor Dr. Ilkka Tittonen of Aalto University’s (Finland) Micronova Group (MnG) in the Department of Micro and Nanosciences. He has published more than 80 refereed journal articles in international journals and is a scientific referee for a number of international journals including Physical Review Letters, Physical Review A&B and the Journal of Physics. Andrew Brooks, a senior accounting major, was selected to intern in London, England, through The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars for the fall 2012 semester. He will intern at the London Marriott West India Quay as a finance assistant. Brooks received two scholarships: the Diversity Leaders award and an award from NSU’s International Program. Michael J. Jackson, a senior special education and psychology major, was recently elected as state-wide president of the Student Virginia Education Association—the student branch of the Virginia Education Association. He will represent more than 44 colleges and universities in the state of Virginia on a national level. Donte Hayden, a Legacy Media Institute fellow, is working with actor, producer Tim Reid,’68, as a member of Reid’s film crew.

University Address Continued from page 1

pursue partnerships with the business community through a business and economic development council. He also announced and highlighted NSU’s new strategic plan, the addition of a new bachelor’s degree program in information technology, and establishment of the Spartan Crusade for Academic Success Student Success Center. Making Waves


NSU’s Goal Set at $15,000

Norfolk State JoiNS the fiGht aGaiNSt heart DiSeaSe


r. Tony Atwater and Dr. Beverly Roberts-Atwater are leading the charge in Norfolk State University’s participation in helping the American Heart Association fund research to help fight heart disease and stroke. Dr. Atwater is part of the leadership team for the heart association’s annual Heart Walk and healthy living campaign fundraiser. “The effort shows our commitment to fighting the No. 1 and No. 3 killers of African Americans as well as our value as a resource and partner in the greater Hampton Roads region,” said Dr. Atwater. So far, more than $13,000 has been raised. Norfolk State has a fundraising goal of $15,000. A kick-off luncheon and healthy cooking demonstration were held to rally support for the effort and to provide information on how to become a Heart Walk team captain or walker. The Heart Walk is slated for Saturday, September 22, at Mount Trashmore Park in Virginia Beach. “This goal can be achieved by reaching out to family, friends and members of your church or organizations,” said Dr. Atwater. “I look forward to walking with you and helping Norfolk State University achieve its goals!” To sign up or to make a donation to the Heart Walk, go to

Miller, Dandridge to be Inducted into Hall of Fame


ormer Norfolk State baseball player and coach Marty Miller and former Spartan basketball star Bobby Dandridge are among the 2012 inductees into the Hampton Roads Sports Hall of Fame. Miller and Dandridge are two of six inductees in this year’s class, the fifth in the hall’s history. The group will be inducted at a banquet on Tuesday, October 30 at the Norfolk Scope. Miller, who now serves as NSU’s athletics director, was the first Spartan baseball player to become an NCAA College Division All-American during a stellar four-year career from 1965-68. He batted .380 as a sophomore, .438 as a junior and .406 as a senior. Miller was an AllCIAA baseball selection in 1967 and 1968, and led the nation in doubles in 1968. As the Spartans’ baseball coach from 1973-2005, Miller won 718 games and led NSU to 17 conference titles. He was named CIAA Coach of the Year 15 times. Miller assumed the role of athletics director in December of 2004. Since that time, Spartan athletic teams have won 26 MEAC titles and captured the past eight MEAC men’s all-sports awards. Dandridge ranks eighth in NSU men's basketball history in rebounds (998) and ninth in scoring (1,740 points) despite playing in only 10 games as a freshman. He holds

school single-season records for field goals made (332) and attempted (601) as well as scoring average (32.0 ppg) and rebound average (17.3 rpg), all coming during his senior year in 1968-69. Dandridge was CIAA Tournament MVP as a senior in 1969 even though NSU finished as runner-up. He set CIAA Tournament records for points in a game (50) Miller and a tournament (114) that season. As a junior in 1967-68, Dandridge averaged 25.5 points and 13.3 rebounds per game as the Spartans won the CIAA title. Dandridge played 13 seasons in the NBA, making four all-star appearances and winning NBA titles with the Milwaukee Bucks (1971) and Washington Bullets (1978).

Most Spirited Department Contest Winner High-tech Spartan Spirit


Pictured from left to right: Front Row: Veronica Willis (standing), Charita Matthews and Janice Smith. Back Row: Ed Trotter, Eugenia Mitchell, Mark Eulo (behind table), Allen Miller, Denee Harris (in front of table on right).


he Office of Information Technology won the “Most Spirited Department” as part of NSU’s College Colors Day celebration. Contestants submitted pictures that showcased departmental staff wearing NSU paraphernalia as well as green and gold attire and showing their Spartan pride.

Making Waves

Norfolk State University Making Waves  

A Monthly Newsletter for Faculty, Staff, Alumni and Friends of Norfolk State University

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