CURIOSITY A NEWSLETTER FOR SUPPORTERS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND / OCTOBER 2015
TO DISCOVER NEW KNOWLEDGE / PASSION TO INSPIRE MARYLAND PRIDE / INSPIRATION TO TRANSFORM THE STUDENT EXPERIENCE / BOLDNESS TO TURN IMAGINATION INTO INNOVATION
VISIONS OF THE FUTURE VIRTUAL AND AUGMENTED REALITY TO REVOLUTIONIZE SURGERY
GIVING INSIGHTS ON CHARITABLE GIFTS / PG. 3 A PLAYGROUND FOR LEARNING / PG. 6 A LESSON IN TURNING VETERANS INTO TEACHERS / PG. 7
THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND IS DRIVEN BY THE DEMAND FOR HIGH-QUALITY EDUCATION, AND WE WORK EVERY DAY TO DELIVER THAT IN INNOVATIVE AND DYNAMIC WAYS. Our students are among the most talented and diverse ever. Our graduation rates have climbed to an all-time high, rising by one-third in the past 15 years. Our faculty and researchers stand among the very best. Private investment is turning College Park into an urban and urbane community—an economic hotspot and a vibrant home for students, faculty and staff. All this helps explain why UMD is a top-20 university, ranked among the top 15 in President Obama’s recent College Scorecard. To continue Maryland’s ascendancy, to truly make a difference in our world, we will need your continued support for four strategic areas: Discover New Knowledge, Inspire Maryland Pride, Transform the Student Experience and Turn Imagination into Innovation. This newsletter—produced for and distributed to alumni, volunteers, donors and leaders who will help power this campaign—will keep you updated on our progress. We’ll also share news about the impact of giving on students and faculty. Each edition of this newsletter will focus on one of the strategic areas. In this inaugural edition, we focus on Discover New Knowledge. I hope you enjoy reading about the University of Maryland, and I welcome your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org. Go Terps! Sincerely,
Peter Weiler Vice President University Relations
A Record-Breaking Year Generous donors helped UMD reach a new fundraising milestone during fiscal year 2015, surpassing the $200 million mark for the first time:
$201,699,435 IN TOTAL GIFTS
DONORS OF $50,000+ GIFTS
41,264 DONORS 23,322 ALUMNI DONORS
SMART GIVING TO YOUR FAVORITE CAUSE, INCLUDING UMD, MAY NOT BE SIMPLY WRITING A CHECK. Some sophisticated giving tools can help you support nonprofit organizations while saving taxes and increasing your income. Certified Financial Planner Ray Ferrara ’70, chairman and CEO of ProVise Management Group and chair of UMD’s Campaign Planning Committee, has more than 40 years of experience navigating this terrain with high-end clients. Here, he tackles a few common questions:
Q: WHAT ARE THE MOST POPULAR WAYS THAT PEOPLE CAN GIVE RIGHT NOW? A: People with assets that have appreciated sigRay Ferrara ’70
nificantly—real estate, artwork, antiques, stocks, bonds, mutual funds and IRAs—might find it advantageous to give them to the charity outright, or through either a charitable gift annuity or a charitable remainder trust (CRT).
Q: WHAT EXACTLY MAKES THEM ADVANTAGEOUS? A: All are ways you can make a charitable gift today, reduce or eliminate the capital gains and/or income taxes, get a charitable deduction, and possibly create a positive cash flow for you and your spouse during your lifetime. At death, whatever is left in the annuity or CRT goes to the charity.
Q: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE LATTER TWO? A: CRTs are created with assets that you transfer to an irrevocable trust. They can provide income in one of two ways: a fixed amount, or a variable
Photos by John T. Consoli
amount based on a percentage of whatever the asset grows to. In an annuity, you are guaranteed a fixed return for the rest of your life, and the payment is dependent on your age. The older you are, the higher the payment. In both, the residual amount goes to the designated charity at death.
Q: WHAT ABOUT GIVING LATER, AFTER YOUR DEATH? A: People with a life insurance policy or retirement funds can make the charity a beneficiary. Or they could make a gift at their death from their will or living trust.
Q: WHY WOULD SOMEONE GO TO THE TROUBLE OF PLANNING A GIFT? A: Charitable intent—that’s always number one. Two, the avoidance of capital gains and income taxes. Three, the potential higher income from these deferred vehicles. Four, it allows a donor to make a gift larger than he or she otherwise could. Plus, you’re still maintaining the use of the assets during your lifetime.
OCTOBER 2015 3
VISIONS OF THE FUTURE VIRTUAL AND AUGMENTED REALITY TO REVOLUTIONIZE SURGERY BY CHRIS CARROLL
O THE UNINITIATED, THE SCENE IS terrifying. A patient lies spread-eagle on an operating table, draped except for his midsection, where a trauma doctor digs for bullet fragments in a hollowed-out cavity large enough to swallow a bowling ball. But to researchers in the University of Maryland’s Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS) and doctors at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, it’s step one on the path to the future of emergency surgery. The scene is playing out in 3-D on a giant screen in UMIACS’ Augmentarium, where researchers seek to graft the power of computing onto everyday life. Postdoctoral computer science researcher Sujal Bista filmed the surgery at Shock Trauma with an innovative (and still-secret) video setup using cameras that present multiple viewpoints. Viewers can change perspective
and see around objects in the scene, like doctors’ hands or medical equipment. The filming experience was disturbing, Bista says— particularly the acrid smell of blood vessel cauterization. “If you’re not used to it, it’s very strong,” he says. Giving viewers the same sense of immersion (minus the smell) is the first objective in this collaborative research, says Amitabh Varshney, computer science professor, UMIACS director and lead investigator for the project. The surgeries Bista is filming will be used primarily for training. “We’re working on building virtual environments in which multiple students and teachers are immersed concurrently and can view the reconstructions in any environment with a shared perspective,” Varshney says. Students and teachers will share virtual experiences using 3-D headsets like the Oculus Rift, which UMIACS has stocked up on, thanks to last year’s $31 million gift
If there was a virtual reality simulation where you could practice a particularly difficult surgery before you do it, the actual surgery would be faster and safer. —AMITABH VARSHNEY
UMIACS Director Amitabh Varshney (left), postdoctoral computer science researcher Sujal Bista and Dr. Sara Murthi, a trauma surgeon at the Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, view an emergency surgery in 3-D in UMD's Augmentarium.
from Oculus VR co-founder and CEO Brendan Iribe. A $1.5 million gift from his mother, Elizabeth Iribe, will establish an endowed chair in virtual and augmented reality, fostering continued research of this type. The environment in a trauma hospital like Shock Trauma, which established the “golden hour” ideal of saving lives through speedy care is disorienting for medical students, says Dr. Sarah Murthi, who is working with the UMD researchers. But giving them an Oculus Rift headset and letting them acclimate by exploring the scene in virtual reality could revolutionize training, she says. “We throw medical students and young trainees into the chaos of trauma with almost no preparation. We expect them to just pick up how to manage several patients at once, without really training them how to do that,” Murthi says. “Virtual reality will allow us a way to teach what I call spinning plates—paying attention to several things at once
Photos by John T. Consoli
and not losing track of any of them” The next step, which will take place in coming years, is introducing virtual and augmented reality into clinical practice, Varshney says. “If there was a virtual reality simulation where you could practice a particularly difficult surgery before you do it, the actual surgery would be faster and safer,” he says. And during surgery, doctors could be guided by information and imagery projected on see-through goggles, perhaps listing the steps or showing systems in the body. Further out, the researchers envision a world where remote-controlled robots on distant battlefields or in the backs of ambulances could act as the virtual hands of skilled surgeons at places like Shock Trauma, speeding the delivery of quality care dramatically. “Augmented reality has the potential to fundamentally change and improve the practice of medicine—both in how we train and how we care for patients,” Murthi says.
OCTOBER 2015 5
Imagination Station PROFESSOR, STUDENTS, CHILDREN TEAM UP TO REJUVENATE CYC PLAYGROUND BY LAUREN BROWN
KINDERGARTNERS AT THE UNIVERSITY’S CENTER FOR YOUNG CHILDREN (CYC) are not getting the working rocket or four-story playhouse they pictured for their playground renovation. But now they can frolic on a new outdoor stage, “golden gate” bridge and hillside slide, help grow (and eat!) vegetables in a raised garden and be mini-meteorologists at a weather station through a project funded by the university’s crowdfunding platform, LaunchUMD. It raised more than $11,000 this spring from donors excited by the
vision of Steven Cohan, coordinator of the Landscape Management Program, and his students. Additional gifts brought the total to more than $20,000. “We were just blown away by the support,” Cohan says. Inspired by the nonprofit Come Alive Outside, which encourages people to spend more time outdoors, Cohan asked CYC Director Fran Favretto to team up to reinvent its 20-year-old playground. Nestled between Oakland Hall and the Aquatic Center, CYC has a fenced L-shaped playground with two small
HAS BEEN RAISED BY LaunchUMD FOR 44 STUDENT AND RESEARCH PROJECTS SINCE ITS START IN MAY 2014.
play sets, teepees, tire swings and sandboxes for the 110 children ages 3 to 6—mostly UMD employees’ offspring— enrolled there. Cohan and his students incorporated ideas culled from the teachers and kindergartners, including the stage (but sadly, not an area for costumes and makeup), simple amphitheater, a zip line and a “secret garden” fed by rain barrels. Plenty of open area will remain, Favretto says: “We don’t want to sacrifice the running space—we want to make sure they can still play soccer.” Phase two this fall, funded through a grant, includes installing a rain garden, grass maze, swing shade canopy and stage pergola.
TERPSTART SCHOLARSHIPS CREATED
MILLION IN FUNDING PLEDGED
Building a Corps of Veteran Teachers ALUM, AN ARMY VETERAN, CREATES SCHOLARSHIP TO HELP MILITARY MEMBERS GET EDUCATION DEGREES BY LAUREN BROWN
THE FIRST TIME RICK BAUCOM WENT OFF TO COLLEGE back in 1960, it didn’t take. One semester at Tennessee Tech, and he was back home, looking for direction. A stellar score on an Army aptitude test and a persuasive recruiter quickly provided it: Baucom ’70 embarked on what became seven years in military intelligence and at the National Security Agency before resuming his college education. He credits those experiences with making him an unflappable, dedicated and tech-embracing teacher and principal. After graduating from Maryland, Baucom spent 30 years in Fairfax County, Va., public schools. Now he’s supporting a new generation of veterans majoring in education at UMD, with a $30,000 gift to create and endow a TerpStart scholarship. Through the two-year program, which closed June 30, the university matches the income the endowment earns each year, doubling its value and magnifying its impact. “I hope other veterans will consider doing the same kind of thing,” he says. Baucom, a married dad while at Maryland, indulged his interest in geopolitics and served as a “big brother” to younger students in the College of Education. In Virginia, he taught geography, government and ancient history, then moved into administration for 15 years before
Photos by John T. Consoli
returning to the classroom as a teacher (and to the football field as a coach). He relished being the first to try newfangled Apple II computers and whiteboards. Baucom also served as a reservist with the Virginia Defense Force for nine years, joining at age 58 following the Sept. 11 attacks. But after losing his wife to cancer and his older son in a car crash, he sold his home of 43 years and today lives outside Phoenix with his second wife, Raye. He gets riled talking about the challenges teachers face today, from over-testing to understaffing. (“Stack ’em deep, teach ‘em cheap,” he says of Arizona’s response to a teacher shortage.) The couple volunteers with the USO at Sky Harbor Airport. That, the budgetdriven drawdown of mid-level officers in the military, and his younger son Randy’s recent retirement from the Army got him thinking about where all this talent should go. “Veterans are capable. They’ve got confidence. Where can they take their leadership and experience and human knowledge?” he asks. “What better place than a school system?”
OCTOBER 2015 7
University Relations Office of Marketing and Communications 2101 Turner Hall, 7736 Baltimore Ave. College Park, MD 20742
WHY I GIVE
Sharon Akers ’78 is vice president of corporate relations for St. John Properties and executive director of the Edward St. John Foundation. She serves on the University of Maryland College Park Foundation’s Board of Trustees.
Dad was one of 10 children, and Mom one of three. They came from small towns in southern Virginia, working hard to provide for my brother Steve and me. They instilled strong values and morals along with a solid sense of integrity to be kind, give back and do the right thing. They were also adamant about the importance of education. They felt it was the greatest gift they could give—to insure that Steve and I obtained our degrees. Both of us proudly graduated from Maryland. After Dad’s passing, we have been going through memories, photos and more, during which we found a bill that my parents had paid for my 1977 fall semester. The cost: $392. That might not seem like a large amount now, but back then, for my parents, it was substantial. As far as Steve and I are concerned, our parents’ sacrifices paid off. The education we received laid the foundation for futures, and as Edward St. John says, “Education transforms lives.” I have been fortunate to represent Ed St. John, helping to provide impact as a result of his generosity. The Edward St. John Learning and Teaching Center will be transformational in many respects. I have decided to designate $25,000 toward a naming opportunity there in recognition of Ed and his transformational vision, and of President Wallace Loh’s dedicated leadership; and in sincere honor of our parents, Helen and Shirl Akers, for their lifelong love and support.