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Faculty and Staff Notes

Alumni To Give $2.5 Million

A Raleigh couple has made a planned estate gift of approximately $2.5 million to NC State that includes funding for a professorship, scholarships and the J.C. Raulston Arboretum. The gift from Keith and Margaret Collins, both of whom are NC State alumni, will establish endowments in the College of Engineering's Department of Computer Science and in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

In the College of Engineering, the charitable bequest establishes the Collins Distinguished Professorship in Computer Science to help the computer science department attract top talent to study ways to use data management and high-performance computing to develop large-scale business analytic solutions. The gift also establishes the Collins Leadership and Computational Excellence Scholarship in Computer Science, which will be awarded to top students who have demonstrated strong aptitude and interest in research and mathematics. The Collins Computer Science Discretionary Fund will give the department head resources to recruit students and faculty, provide support for student organizations, support lecture series and make faculty awards.

In the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the Margaret "Margie" P. Collins Fund already provides annual support for the CALS Ambassadors student leadership program and two undergraduate student leaders scholarships. When fully realized, the Collins' gift will establish several named endowments to benefit the college: the Margie Collins Endowment for the JC Raulston Arboretum, the Margie Collins Endowment for the CALS Ambassadors, and the Margie Collins Scholarship Endowment for CALS, which will fund a number of leadership and merit-based scholarships.

The Collinses, who met as students at NC State, have been longtime supporters of the university. Keith is a 1982 computer science graduate and Margie is a 1979 horticultural science graduate.

NSF Grant Funds Rural Outreach

Filling the pipeline with the next generation of chemists, engineers and rocket scientists isn’t easy. New research at NC State is designed to drive U.S. students to careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, also known as STEM.

A team of researchers led by Dr. Sarah Stein, associate professor of communication, recently received a $1.8 million grant from the National Science Foundation to bring advanced mathematics software to rural, underserved high schools in North Carolina through NC State’s innovative cloud computing solution, the Virtual Computing Lab (VCL). The program, called “Scale-Up: Scaling up STEM Learning with the VCL,” is designed to be replicated across the state and country. Stein’s colleagues on the project include Dr. Eric Wiebe and Dr. Karen Hollebrands, both associate professors of mathematics, science and technology education, and Dr. Henry Schaffer, coordinator of special IT projects in the Office of Information Technology.

Students and teachers will be able to access the VCL remotely from computers in their classrooms, libraries or at home. Rather than installing expensive software on individual computers, they will be able to access software packages that run on powerful remote servers.

Combined Campaign Update

Find that personalized pledge form in the papers on your desk: There’s still time to support local charities with a donation to the State Employees Combined Campaign, scheduled to end Friday, Oct. 9. In the first three weeks of the campaign, employees have contributed $258,819 toward the $525,000 goal. So far, 14.8 percent of employees have made a donation, compared with 28.9 percent last year.

More than 800 nonprofits use combined campaign donations to meet critical needs in the community, and you can designate where your money goes. As an added incentive, when you make a donation, you're entered in a prize drawing. Forty winners have already taken home football game tickets, a Lonnie Poole putter and gift certificates, and more prizes will be awarded. 

Author Greg Mortenson talks with students at book signing
Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea, visits with students during a book signing before fall convocation.

Nominate a Book for Common Reading

Know of an inspiring book that all incoming students should read? The Common Reading Selection Committee invites you to nominate a fiction or nonfiction book by Wednesday, Sept. 30. The selected book will be assigned for next fall’s incoming undergraduate students.

Recent selections have introduced students, staff and faculty to the works and perspectives of authors Mitch Albom (Tuesdays with Morrie), Da Chen (Colors of the Mountain, Sounds of the River) and Greg Mortenson (Three Cups of Tea).  Each author has served as the keynote speaker for the Wolfpack Welcome Week Convocation and participated in other activities on campus. For selection criteria, visit Make your nomination using the “Suggest a Book” link.

Forestry Team Honored

Team members with Extension Forestry and Forestry and Environmental Outreach received an award of excellence (silver) from the Southern Extension Forest Resource Specialists for their work with the Woody Biomass Program. The program provides education and materials to promote economic opportunities related to renewable energy derived from woody biomass.

The honorees are Dr. Robert Bardon, department extension leader;  Dr. Dennie Hazel, extension specialist; Dr. Mark Megalos, extension specialist; James Jeuck, extension associate; Christopher Hopkins, outreach associate; Jasmine Shaw and Susan McIntyre, graduate students; Dr. Susan Moore, extension associate professor; and Kelley Duffield McCarter, program coordinator.

Earlier this year, the NC Woody Biomass Team won the 2009 Innovator Award from the Southern Growth Policies Board and the Outstanding Subject Matter Program Developed by a Team Award from the North Carolina Association of Cooperative Extension Specialists.

Office of International Affairs Newsletter

The September newsletter for the Office of International Affairs including news and information on a wide range of events taking place on campus and in the community. Download the newsletter (PDF file).

Spintronics Grant Will Develop Smaller, Faster Electronic Devices

NC State researchers have received a three-year, $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation’s Center for Chemical Innovation for research in the emerging field of molecular spintronics, used to develop smaller, faster, more energy-efficient electronic devices with increased storage capacity.

The grant will fund a center for molecular spintronics and support a research coalition with scientists at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. NC State's Dr. David Shultz, professor of chemistry, is the principal investigator. Co-PIs at NC State include Drs. Dan Dougherty, Marco Buongiorno-Nardelli, Jack Rowe (physics), Joe Tracy (materials science and engineering) and Gail Jones (math, science and technology education). The grant is one of four awarded nationally by the NSF.

Pramaggiore Presents at Film Conference

Dr. Maria Pramaggiore, professor of film studies, presented "The Global Repositioning of the City Symphony: Sound, Space, and Trauma in 11'09'01" at the Visible Evidence Documentary Film Conference held at the University of Southern California.

Laux’s Poems Translated

English Professor Dorianne Laux's selected poems have been translated into Arabic by Kalima Press.

Reavis’ Labor Hall Stories Published

Assistant English professor Dick Reavis’ collection of on-the-job tales, Catching Out: Life in a Day Labor Hall, will be published in February by Simon & Schuster. The stories are based on Reavis’ experiences working out of labor halls in the summers 2007 and 2008. The publisher’s catalog describes the collection as "a gritty, hard-time evocation of the sometimes colorful men and women on the bottom rung of the workforce. It is partly a guide to performing hard, physical tasks, partly a celebration of strength, and partly a venting of ire at stingy and stern overseers."

Remembering Dr. Funderlic

Dr. Robert E. Funderlic, department head (1986-1992) and professor emeritus in the computer science department, lost a long and courageous fight with cancer on Sept. 5. The department mourns his loss and remembers his legacy with a story that ran on its site at