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University Center Addition Opens

UT Tyler’s University Center addition is now open for students, faculty and staff to enjoy. At 35,000 square feet, the addition features a cafeteria-style dining hall and a ballroom/multi-use conference center. Other components in the three-story facility include a sports café, lounge and office space for the UT Tyler Student Government Association and student affairs division. Work has begun to enhance the existing University Center and is scheduled for completion in 2010. “We are delighted the University Center addition is ready, and we thank everyone for their patience as renovation work continues on the current portion of the UC,” said Gregg Lassen, vice president for business affairs. “Once construction is completed, I believe the entire building will take UT Tyler to another level in terms of the quality of accommodations.”

Political Science Students Attend Model UN Event in England

UT Tyler political science students participated in the 2008 International Model United Nations Conference in Oxford, England. The only university from the United States in attendance, UT Tyler competed against universities from countries as far away as Nepal and Nigeria. UT Tyler students represented the Italian Republic during the competition, held at the University of Oxford. “While in England, students had the opportunity to see firsthand the nation, which for centuries has shaped and helped to define the Western world,’’ said Dr. Marcus Stadelmann, UT Tyler chair and associate professor of political science. “In addition to enhancing students’ perspectives on the past, the trip afforded them the opportunity to interact with diverse cultures from around the world.’’ UT Tyler students participating were Richard Gillespie of Athens; Karla Clark, Jacksonville; Whitney Childers, Mineola; Jerrod Dickens, Palestine; Verica Elliott, Maggie Haas and Nathan Stiles, Tyler; and William Fletcher and Jamie Bitzenhofer, Whitehouse.

Herd Family Creates Endowed Scholarship

Mr. and Mrs. Bob Herd have established a $1million endowed presidential scholarship at UT Tyler. The gift of the Mr. and Mrs. Bob Herd Presidential Scholarship will assist first-rate students and comes at a time when endowed scholarships rank as the highest priority for the university, President Rodney H. Mabry said. Funding for endowed scholarships enables UT Tyler to offer competitive awards to academically talented students and provides need-based scholarships to other well-qualified students. Scholarships such as the Herd endowment not only help students for all time but also grow with compounding interest and provide even greater assistance each year. “Scholarship support is the key to attracting and graduating more high-ability students who, in turn, will ultimately become valued professionals helping to strengthen the economy of East Texas and valuable citizens and neighbors to all of us,’’ President Mabry said. “We are so grateful to the Herds for their generosity and foresight.” In addition to their longtime support of student scholarships, the Herds have been annual members of the UT Tyler President’s Associates and have underwritten the university’s Distinguished Lecture Series.

UT Tyler Plays Big Role in Community Production

The Tyler Junior College Academy of Dance’s production of “The Nutcracker’’ ballet is an annual holiday tradition in Tyler. The 2008 production was especially notable with the auditorium of the UT Tyler R. Don Cowan Fine and Performing Arts Center playing host for the first time to performers, accompanied by members of the East Texas Symphony Orchestra, also a first in the history of the production. UT Tyler’s contributions to the 2008 production went beyond simply providing the venue, as alumni, current students and faculty took roles on stage and behind the scenes. UT Tyler graduate Tom Jones, who has appeared in every production since its inception, again played his leading role as the magical Uncle Drosselmeyer. Junior mathematics major Robin Westby marked her third appearance, dancing the female lead of Clara. Also making return performances were graduates Gwendolyn Jones, Karen McKeown and Vincent Williams, freshman nursing major Kelsey Winn and Dr. David Beams, associate professor of electrical engineering. Appearing on stage for the first time was Dr. James Nelson, dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science. Junior English major Ashlie Contos was the associate director of the production. CECS instrument maker James Mills again put his skills in the machine shop to the service of the arts in the 2008 production. The design skills of alumni and CECS faculty and students were once again on display in the props – a self-propelled sleigh, a special-effects grandfather clock and an expandable Christmas tree, illuminated with 360 pairs of light-emitting diodes that could extend to a height of 24 feet. The technical partnership between CECS and the Academy of Dance has been ongoing since the introduction of the self-propelled sleigh in 2001.

Chemistry Majors Present at Singapore Conference

UT Tyler senior chemistry majors Abby Roth of Wills Point and Heather McBride of Tyler participated in the Futuropolis 2058: Creating Sustainable Urban Environments through Innovation Conference in Singapore. The students made poster presentations about their research conducted in the University of Texas System Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Summer Research Academy. Dr. Stephen B. Rainwater, interim chair and Chandler Professor of Computer Science, accompanied the students in his role as the UT Tyler LSAMP director. In addition to the October conference, the UT Tyler delegation visited Singapore Management University and the National University of Singapore. LSAMP is supported by the National Science Foundation and provides undergraduate research experiences in an effort to increase the number of underrepresented students pursuing graduate level studies in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs.

UT Tyler Palestine Campus Contractor Selected

Hill and Wilkinson General Contractors has been selected to construct the new facility at the UT Tyler Palestine Campus. Founded in 1968 by Luther Hill, the full-service construction firm has served industries including aviation, health care, manufacturing, retail and education. Hill and Wilkerson has completed projects for UT Arlington, Abilene Christian University, Dallas Theological Seminary and Dallas Academy. Initial site preparation and construction on the $8 million UT Tyler Palestine facility began in February. The project completion date is May 2010. The new building, designed by Barnes Gromatzky Kosarek Architects, will be approximately 17,426 square feet of general classroom and faculty office space. It will provide added space for the expansion of programs, such as nursing, where critical shortages exist throughout the state. It also will accommodate the growth of the campus, which has seen an 89 percent enrollment increase since 2000. The building project is the result of funds provided by the Tuition Revenue Bond and gifts from the “Paving the Way” Palestine community fundraising campaign.

Professor to Study Texas Roadside Maintenance

Dr.Wei “David” Fan, UT Tyler assistant professor in civil engineering, has received a grant from the Texas Department of Transportation to study roadside maintenance. In the two-year study, Dr. Fan will collaborate with the Texas Transportation Institute to identify and summarize best practices in performance-based roadside maintenance specifications. The team will develop draft specifications for consideration by TxDOT through field trials and feedback. “To preserve and improve the value of its roadside assets and optimize the use of its resources, the Texas Department of Transportation is investigating the use of performance-based specifications,” Dr. Fan said. “While performance-based contracting is a promising roadway asset management technique, it is still relatively new, and several questions need to be addressed to help TxDOT apply this technique effectively.”

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