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Sunday, September 14, 2014

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University Launches Dynamic, Interactive Information Website UMD Right Now

December 4, 2012

Crystal Brown 301-405-4618

College Park, Md. – Today, the University of Maryland launched a brand-new multimedia news and information portal, UMD Right Now, which provides members of the media and the public with real-time information on the university and its extended community.

UMD Right Now replaces Newsdesk, which previously served as the university’s news hub and central resource for members of the media. The new site is aimed at reaching broader audiences and allows visitors to keep up with the latest Maryland news and events, view photos and videos and connect with the university across all of its social media platforms.

“We designed UMD Right Now to be a comprehensive, vibrant site where visitors can find new and exciting things happening at Maryland,” said Linda Martin, executive director, Web and New Media Strategies. “Through social media, video, photos and news information, we hope to engage visitors and compel the community to explore all that Maryland has to offer.”

The new website,, contains up-to-date news releases and announcements, facts and figures about the university, a searchable database of faculty and staff experts, information highlighting innovation and entrepreneurship at UMD, additional resources for news media and other campus and athletics news.

“UMD RightNow is the place to go to find out all the things happening on and around campus on any given day,” said Crystal Brown, chief communications officer. “This website brings real-time news, events and information right to your fingertips.”

For more information and contact information for the Office of University Communications, please visit

UMD Announces Largest Gift in University History

September 12, 2014

The University of Maryland announced today a gift of $31 million from Oculus VR co-founder and CEO and UMD alumnus, Brendan Iribe – the largest gift in the university's history. The majority of the gift, $30 million, will help fund construction of the Brendan Iribe Center for Computer Science and Innovation, and the remaining $1 million will establish the Brendan Iribe Scholarship in Computer Science.

Ecosystems of U.S. Cities Show "Urban Evolution" Patterns

September 11, 2014

Heather Dewar 301-405-9267

Urban waters record the salt in our food, cement in our sidewalks, UMD scientist says

This stream restoration project in Baltimore, Maryland is in an early stage of evolution towards sustainability. A concrete channel that enclosed the stream has been removed, and native tree seedlings have been planted along its banks. Credit: Tamara Newcomer Johnson, University of MarylandCOLLEGE PARK, Md. - Most people think of city landscapes as simpler, diminished versions of the wild forests and free-flowing streams found in remote places. But in a series of studies published Sept. 10, 2014 in a special issue of the journal Biogeochemistry, scientists specializing in urban ecosystems say just the opposite is true. Urban landscapes are more complex than they seem, and from coast to coast these ecosystems can work in surprisingly similar ways, regardless of local conditions. And they have the potential to change quickly – for better or worse – depending on how people manage them.

In 14 studies, scientists from across the U.S. examined the impacts of human actions on the geology, chemistry and biology of urban ecosystems. The studies were carried out in a broad range of climates from Boston and Baltimore to San Juan, Puerto Rico, Tucson, Arizona and Southern California, including sites in the National Science Foundation's Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) network. Results were published in a special issue of Biogeochemistry exclusively devoted to urban ecosystems, edited by University of Maryland geologist Sujay Kaushal and University of New Hampshire ecologists William McDowell and Wilfred Wollheim.

"Urban ecosystems change relatively quickly in response to human activities," says Kaushal. "These changes can result in rapid losses of ecosystem functions, like flood protection and pollution filtration, or they can result in progress toward ecological health and productivity. The difference depends in large part on how they are managed."

In an overview article, Kaushal, McDowell and Wollheim point out some key factors that affect the evolution of urban ecosystems. For example, the streams, lakes and land surfaces that make up cities' watersheds show consistent patterns of change over time:

  • They are becoming saltier, partly due to road salt used for de-icing, and partly because the salt that people eat ends up in urban streams. Excess salt in the human diet is excreted in human waste, and captured by sewer systems. Crumbling sewage pipes leak this chloride-laden waste into groundwater, where it eventually mingles with surface water, say the authors of the overview paper. The researchers propose that one way to track the spread of urbanization is by looking at the chloride content of cities' freshwater rivers and streams.
  • They carry the chemical signature of dissolving concrete, a major building material in urban areas since the mid-20th century. Most concrete contains cement made of powdered limestone, which weathers easily when exposed to acid rain or chemicals. The authors say many cities now have their own human-made geology: concrete surfaces that mimic a type of limestone called karst. This "urban karst" is constantly breaking down into its constituent elements, including calcium and carbonate minerals, which flow into urban streams and affect their pH content, and therefore their ability to sustain aquatic life.
  • Urban ecosystems develop "hot spots," like road crossings where automobile exhaust, litter, de-icing salt and other human-made substances can sharply alter downstream water quality. They also experience "hot moments," such as heavy rainstorms that wash large pulses of organic matter and manufactured chemicals into streams, or cause sewage overflows. These hot moments can suddenly change water chemistry in ways that shock natural systems. 
  • The networks that supply cities with water evolve and expand over time, including not just surface waters, but also storm drains, leaking water and sewer pipes, roofs and gutters, groundwater, and waste water that humans bring into the area from other watersheds. The boundaries between nearby cities' watersheds are blurring, making it hard to define, study and manage them.

Eroding stream banks and aging sewer lines contribute to evolving water pollution problems in cities. In this photo from Baltimore, Maryland, a sewage pipe that was originally placed in a stream bed developed leaks, and is now surrounded by a concrete casing. Credit: Tamara Newcomer Johnson, University of Maryland "There is a lot of good urban restoration work underway," says McDowell, "but often it only has a short-term effect, because urban watersheds follow their own evolutionary paths. For example, utility managers may build a stormwater retention pond to capture polluted runoff, such as excess nitrogen from urban runoff. And it may work very well for a few years. But then it fills in with sediment, and becomes a wetland, and it's no longer working the way the engineers designed it to work."

"We hope scientists, managers and citizens will work together to make decisions that allow for what we call 'urban evolution,' – that is, changes in the ecology of cities over time, " says Kaushal. "If we do that, we can find effective ways to understand and manage the trajectory of urban ecosystems, from decline towards sustainability."

"This synthesis brings the power of evolutionary biology to understanding ecosystem processes in urban environments, some of the most rapidly changing habitats globally," says Saran Twombly, NSF's LTER program director.  "Merging evolutionary biology with ecosystem sciences is an exciting frontier for long-term ecological research, beginning with this issue on biogeochemical cycles."

University Names Gary Williams to Senior Role

September 10, 2014

Brian Ullmann 301-314-6650
Zachary Bolno 301-314-1482

Hall of Fame Coach to Oversee Athletic Development and Boost Alumni Outreach

Gary WilliamsCOLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland today named Gary Williams to a senior role overseeing athletics fundraising and spearheading university-wide alumni outreach.  As Senior Managing Director for Alumni Relations and Athletic Development, Williams will be responsible for an athletic fundraising operation that raises over $8 million annually for student-athlete scholarships and operates the 8,000-donor Terrapin Club Scholarship Fund.  He will focus on fundraising efforts to build new and renovate existing athletic facilities.

Williams will also work to integrate campus-wide alumni outreach, serve as spokesman for the Alumni Association’s new 25th Anniversary Celebration, and help manage the University’s new regional development plan in New York City, Baltimore, Los Angeles and South Florida.  He will focus on increasing the engagement and philanthropy of the University’s 320,000 alumni.

“Ultimately, I think my job is about building Maryland pride,” said Williams.  “Our move to the Big Ten, the research that we do here, the students that study here, there’s a lot to be proud of.  I think I can make a positive difference and I’m excited to get to work.”

“This is an exciting moment in the history of the University of Maryland,” said President Wallace D. Loh.  “I like to think of Gary Williams as our new head coach of athletic fundraising and alumni outreach.  And I’m confident he will have the same level of success off the court as he did on it.”

“There is no better person who represents our university than Gary Williams,” said Director of Athletics Kevin Anderson.  “When the opportunity presented itself to add Gary to our leadership team, we were eager to offer him this position to spearhead our fundraising efforts for scholarships and capital improvements.  As a student-athlete, coach and ambassador with the Terrapins over the past five decades, Gary represents our ‘Proud Past’ and will be instrumental as we welcome the new ‘Fearless Future’ era at the University of Maryland.”

Williams served as a campaign co-chair for UMD’s recently-completed $1 billion Great Expectations capital campaign.  He will now play a leadership role within the Division of University Relations.  Last year, the University raised over $142 million, best in UMD history.

“Gary Williams is joining our team at a particularly exciting time,” said Peter Weiler, Vice President, University Relations.  “His relationships with alums and his deep affinity and love for this University will be invaluable assets as we build philanthropic support for the faculty, students and programs here at the University of Maryland.”
“Our alumni association actually began the very same year that Gary Williams arrived on campus as the new head coach in 1989,” said Nicole Pollard, President of the UMD Alumni Association.  “I can think of no better ambassador for our 25th anniversary, and to help us grow the community of Terps around the globe.”
Williams earned his Bachelor’s Degree in business administration from UMD in 1968.  He has coached at both high school and collegiate level, and has coached and led programs in the BIG EAST, ACC and Big Ten.

Williams led his alma mater’s basketball program from a period of troubled times to an era of national prominence during his 22 seasons at the helm from 1989-2011.  With 14 NCAA Tournament berths in his final 18 seasons, Williams and his staff garnered seven Sweet Sixteen appearances, a pair of consecutive Final Four showings, and the 2002 National Championship - the first of its kind in Maryland basketball history.  In November 2014, Williams earned the ultimate honor in college basketball, when he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame and the College Basketball Hall of Fame.

UMD Researchers Awarded $1.6 Million to Fight Flu in Pigs

September 10, 2014

Sara Gavin 301-405-9235

Approach could lead to strategies for eliminating influenza in humans

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Researchers from the University of Maryland's College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (AGNR) will soon test a cutting-edge approach for eradicating the most ancient disease known to mankind – influenza – thanks to a $1.6 million grant awarded by the USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

Bhanu TeluguLed by Bhanu Telugu, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Animal and Avian Sciences, the research team will use advanced genome editing technologies to engineer flu resistance in pigs and prevent the flu from spreading to other pigs and to humans, who can contract the virus from swine. Scientists will do this by deleting receptors in the pigs' genetic codes to block the virus' entry and inserting what are called "decoy" genes to prevent the disease from replicating.

"This serves as a dual mechanism for protecting the pigs from viral infection and transmission to human and pig hosts," explains Telugu. "It's a double-whammy on the virus."

An influenza outbreak in commercial swine herds, such as the pandemic of 2009, can quickly spread across the globe and economically devastate the pork industry. Meanwhile, seasonal influenza in humans leads to an estimated $11 billion in direct and indirect costs every year in the United States alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Although recorded evidence of the flu dates all the way back to Greek philosopher Hippocrates, who died in 370 B.C., scientists have yet to defeat the disease, only to vaccinate against it. Telugu is hopeful he and his team can use the domestic pig as a model for fighting the flu in humans and other species.

"Our argument is if we are to eliminate this disease, we have to go after the source – in this case, the pig," says Telugu.

The five-year study will be conducted at the Animal Bioscience and Biotechnology Laboratory, a building jointly owned by the University of Maryland and the USDA and one of only a handful around the world equipped with the biomedical tools necessary for this type of research. The UMD team was one of just six awarded a NIFA grant from a pool of approximately 170 applicants.

UMD Named Top 20 Public University by U.S. News

September 9, 2014

Alana Carchedi 301-405-0235

Best CollegesCOLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland has been ranked No. 20 among national public universities in the 2015 U.S. News Best Colleges rankings, released today. This is the 12th year that the university has been ranked in the top 20.

The Robert H. Smith School of Business was ranked 21st nationally, with six specialties ranked in the top 25:

  • Management information systems ranked 6th,
  • Supply chain management/logistics 9th,
  • Entrepreneurship 13th,
  • Management 14th,
  • Marketing 17th, and
  • Finance 25th.

In addition, the A. James Clark School of Engineering was ranked 22nd nationally. Its aerospace engineering specialty ranked 10th and mechanical engineering specialty ranked 21st.

The university was also touted by U.S. News for its first-year freshmen experience and learning communities.

The full U.S. News rankings are available at

World-Renowned Arts Management Institute Opens at UMD

September 8, 2014

Katie Lawson 301-405-4622

'American Cities' Program to Expand to Baltimore and Los Angeles in 2015
DeVos Institute and UMD Faculty to Partner on Study of Diversity and Technology in the Arts

Michael M. KaiserCOLLEGE PARK, Md. – The world-renowned DeVos Institute of Arts Management, a premier organization for training and supporting arts leadership, officially opened at the University of Maryland. Michael M. Kaiser, a foremost expert in arts management and former president of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, together with Institute president Brett Egan, will lead the DeVos Institute at UMD.

UMD and the DeVos Institute today announced two major initiatives:  Expansion of the 'American Cities' program; and the launch of a pair of projects to study two pressing issues facing arts communities around the globe.

The "American Cities" program, launched by the DeVos Institute in such cities as Miami, Detroit and New York City, provides an in-depth two-year arts management training in select American cities.  Beginning in February 2015, the program will launch in Baltimore.  Together with partners including the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance and Maryland Humanities Council, the program will include seminars, webinars, and consultations for managers and board members of leading arts institutions in Baltimore.  The "American Cities" program will also expand to Los Angeles in late 2015.

Brett EganThe DeVos Institute will also commence work on two major studies in close collaboration with UMD faculty: Diversity in the Arts and Technology in the Arts. 

"Our new home at the University of Maryland permits the DeVos Institute to work with talented faculty and staff on these critical issues that challenge our field," said Kaiser.  "Through dialogues with industry leaders and a series of academic forums, we will focus on the challenges facing African American and Latino arts institutions throughout the United States today.  We will also be exploring the ways new technologies are affecting arts institutions, including the way we make our art and the ways we market our programs.  We are thrilled to join such a vibrant academic community."

"The University of Maryland prides itself on having outstanding arts programs, and the addition of the DeVos Institute will provide an incredible boost for our students, faculty and staff," said President Wallace D. Loh.  "We are all looking forward to developing partnerships and connections between the Institute and our faculty in a wide range of disciplines."

The DeVos Institute will also work closely with the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, the College of Arts and Humanities and other campus units on an international fellowship program, student internships at the Institute, and a planned series of seminars for the campus community.  The DeVos Institute and UMD will soon begin exploring the possibility of a master's program in arts management.

Founded by Kaiser in 2001 after he became president of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the DeVos Institute trains, supports and empowers arts managers and their boards. It has advised thousands of individuals, organizations, governments and foundations throughout the United States and in over 80 countries on six continents.  The DeVos Institute's offices, staff, and leadership team will have offices in the Ronald Reagan Building in downtown Washington, DC. 

Additional information about the DeVos Institute is available at

UMD, Catholic Charities to Deliver $1 Million in Free Dental Care

September 5, 2014

Crystal Brown, UMD, 301-405-4621
Kester Williams, UMD, 301-405-8859
Erik Salmik, Catholic Charities, 202-772-4390
Tony Burke, Catholic Charities, 202-772-4312

State of the Art Dental and Healthcare Services for 1,000 Patients

Mid-Maryland Mission of Mercy (MOM) & Health Equity FestivalCOLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland (UMD) Terrapins' basketball court at the XFINITY Center (formerly the Comcast Center), will transform into a mobile dental clinic with 100 dental chairs, to provide $1 million of free dental care to more than 1,000 underserved, uninsured, and underinsured adults. The dental clinic is part of the two-day Mid-Maryland Mission of Mercy and Health Equity Festival, sponsored by the University of Maryland School of Public Health’s Center for Health Equity (M-CHE) (a NIH-NIMHD Center of Excellence on Race, Ethnicity and Disparities Research), Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington, the Maryland State Dental Association, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Kaiser Permanente, Cigna and DentaQuest.

Since the death of Deamonte Driver, a 12-year-old boy from Prince George's County who died in 2007 from an untreated dental infection, the state of Maryland has seen improvements in its oral health programs and policies. There remains a great need for dental services, however, especially for adults. The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reports that for 2012 almost 20 percent of Maryland residents surveyed had not visited a dentist within the past five years and seven percent had not visited a dentist in more than five years.

On September 5 and 6, approximately 800 volunteers, including licensed dentists, hygienists, and dental assistants, will provide state of the art dental services, including cleanings, fillings, extractions, root canals and oral hygiene education.

“The Maryland Center for Health Equity’s goal for this event is not only to serve people in need of emergency dental care but also to connect people in great need to quality healthcare.  Ultimately, the aim is to empower people to take control of their own health,” said Professor Stephen B. Thomas, from the School of Public Health Department of Health Services Administration and Founding Director of the Maryland Center for Health Equity, a NIH Center of Excellence funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.  The event also helps to achieve the Federal Healthy People 2020’s oral health objectives to increase awareness of the importance of oral health to overall health and well-being, and reduce disparities in access to effective preventive and dental treatment services.

This is the first time that Catholic Charities is convening a Mission of Mercy (MOM) project on a university campus with an academic research partner, and adding a health promotion component that addresses the broader physical and social determinants of health. “I’m so excited to see so many individuals from our community receive the gift of free dental care. All of this could not take place without the support of so many, especially our local dentists and dental hygienists," said Monsignor John Enzler of Catholic Charities. “This will be a remarkable experience for the givers and receivers. Catholic Charities is thrilled to be a part of the Mission of Mercy & Health Equity Festival.”

While the Affordable Care Act provides dental coverage for children and for pregnant women in Maryland, most adults still lack dental coverage. In Prince George's County, a vast number of these adults are low-income, immigrants, African-American or Hispanic. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, although most oral diseases are preventable, many individuals do not seek dental services for reasons such as: cost, lack of dental insurance, lack of access to dental services, fear of dental procedures or lack of awareness.

“Maryland State Dental Association (MSDA), through its many volunteer endeavors, recognizes a greater need for access to care issues for many of the underserved in our communities. Maryland has been recognized as a leader in providing access to care to the needy. Our volunteer dentists spend huge resources to put on our Mission of Mercy events throughout the state,” said Dr. Tristam Kruger, Editor of the Journal of the Maryland State Dental Association. “Each MOM event is staffed with caring doctors and others who treat the many thousands of people who come seeking care at no costs to the patient. Donated Dental Services is another way MSDA volunteer dentists treat patients for no charge – right in the volunteer dentist’s office. There are no perfect solutions to access to care issues, but Maryland dentists (and surrounding jurisdictions) are addressing the problems and getting care to those who need it most,” he said.

“The Mission of Mercy is an opportunity to promote inter-institutional collaboration and inter-professional education,” said Professor Jane E. Clark, Dean of the School of Public Health. “This event will advance a better state of health by providing access to high-quality dental care and health promotion services for Maryland’s vulnerable populations,” she said. 

The Health Equity Festival represents a collaborative effort of academic, state and county agencies, area hospitals, healthcare facilities, managed care and community-based organizations that will offer the following additional services:

  • Health promotion and disease prevention screenings (hepatitis C, diabetes, HIV, and vision),
  • Evidence-based chronic disease management information for people with chronic diseases,
  • Assistance in understanding and navigating the Maryland Health Connection Insurance Program,
  • Health literacy,
  • Legal assistance for medical debt, and
  • Other social and mental health service resources.

Choirs from UMD's Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center and Department of Music will also perform live singing and music throughout the day to create a gracious space designed to promote stress reduction and healing.

“In addition to the oral health challenges, many of the individuals that will receive care also face other social, economic, and health issues that may include diabetes, hypertension, and asthma.  We want to make sure that we are addressing some of the other diseases and issues that people may have, by offering health screenings, medical debt counseling, and other types of wraparound services,” said Professor Thomas.  “And none of this would be feasible without the many volunteers and partners that have come together to make this event possible.  It is a remarkable demonstration of what we can do as a community when we advance cooperation over competition in the delivery of lifesaving health services for our most vulnerable neighbors,” he said.

Care will be provided from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on a first-come, first-served basis.

“At Cigna, we are committed to improving the health and well-being of the people and communities we serve. We are proud to work together with community partners to help provide critical oral care to those in need, educate individuals about good preventive care habits and enhance their overall health,” said Julia Huggins, president for Cigna in Maryland.

SiriusXM’s Joe Madison will broadcast his national, daily show live from the XFINITY Center from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. EST.  The host will interview local, state, and national leaders, scientists, medical and public health professionals, academicians, dentists, patients, community advocates and others, about various dental care and health disparity issues. SiriusXM Urban View can be heard on channel 126, and through the SiriusXM Internet Radio App on smartphones and other connected devices, as well as online at 

Follow the Mid-Maryland Mission of Mercy & Health Equity Festival on twitter with #missionofmercy. For additional information, visit:

Statement from UMD Regarding 09/03/14 Incident at Main Administration Building

September 4, 2014

Crystal Brown 301-405-4621

Yesterday, the University of Maryland Police Department (UMPD) received an anonymous phone call reporting an armed individual holding a hostage at gunpoint inside the Main Administration Building. Our officers responded immediately and followed police protocol to evacuate and safeguard the building against the potential threat. After completing a sweep of the building, it was determined that the threat was unfounded and an all clear was issued. The ongoing investigation of this incident has revealed that the call was placed from an internet based line and linked to a social media account in which numerous "fake" incidents in the area, including the University of Maryland, were mentioned. This incident is still under investigation and when available updates will be posted on-line at


September 12
The University of Maryland announced today a gift of $31 million from Oculus co-founder and CEO and UMD alumnus Brendan... Read
September 11
Scientists specializing in urban ecosystems say urban landscapes are more complex than they seem, and from coast to... Read
September 10
The University of Maryland today named Gary Williams to a senior role overseeing athletics fundraising and spearheading... Read
September 10
UMD researchers will soon test a cutting-edge approach for eradicating the most ancient disease known to mankind –... Read