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UMD Gets New Look into Life after 'The Great Fire'

July 10, 2013
Contacts: 

Alana Carchedi 301-405-0235

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – A new discovery has given the University of Maryland added insight into what happened in the time immediately following The Great Fire of 1912—a time that has been, until now, largely undocumented. Recently uncovered in the garage of the heir to Sterling Byrd's estate, son of former UMD president Harry Clifton "Curley" Byrd, were the minutes of the Maryland Agricultural College Board of Trustees, beginning December 2, 1912—only three days after the devastating fire that crippled the campus.

These documents, which continue through May 1916, shed light on not only the days following the fire that could have ended the university, but also record several critical moments in UMD's history.

The Board of Trustees called a special meeting on December 2, 1912, to discuss what actions to take after the fire. The Board quickly decided that work should go on uninterrupted, and the college would reopen the following Wednesday—only five days after the fire destroyed the two largest buildings on campus."Much of what this find illustrates, including the election of H.J. Patterson, the construction of Calvert Hall, and the decision to admit women, are giant steps along the path to recovery and eventual prosperity," says university archivist Anne Turkos. "It's wonderful to finally be able to see some of how that transpired."

Picking up the pieces
The Board of Trustees called a special meeting on December 2, 1912, to discuss what actions to take after the fire. The Board quickly decided that work should go on uninterrupted, and the college would reopen the following Wednesday—only five days after the fire destroyed the two largest buildings on campus. Since the barracks lay in ruins, the Board also agreed that students would temporarily live with families in the neighborhoods surrounding campus to avoid any delay in resuming operations.

"These minutes are truly a milestone historical discovery for the university," says assistant university archivist Jason Speck. "It was long assumed that because of the great fire and the passing of years, little evidence remained from that critical time when the university we know today could have folded forever.  Instead, we have documented proof of an institution determined to rise, literally, from its ashes and move forward."

Resignation of President Silvester
On December 3, the Board received the resignation letter of President Richard W. Silvester. This never-before-seen letter, transcribed in the minutes, attributes Silvester's resignation to his poor health, countering previous speculation that he resigned due to his discouragement over the losses from the fire.

On December 3, the Board received the resignation letter of President Richard W. Silvester.He states, "To you gentlemen I beg to say, that I am under lasting obligation for your kindness, generosity, and many acts of consideration. My health has improved and I believe that I will soon be restored to my normal conditions. It has, however, been suggested to me by friends that in the interest of the College, I should ask to be relieved from the active duties of the Presidency."

On April 17, 1913, the Board called a special meeting to select the college's new president. As the minutes detail, H.J. Patterson beat out his leading opponent 9-5 in a vote to be named the next president, a role he would keep until 1917.
 
Defining moments in UMD history
The minutes also record several important moments in the university's history, which lacked significant documentation prior to this discovery. These include a Board meeting only two weeks following the fire, when the members agreed that rebuilding needed to begin immediately and  they would therefore form a building committee. The formation of this committee led to the eventual construction of Calvert Hall in 1914, the first dormitory built after the barracks burned down in the fire.

Another astounding discovery is that although the first women were not admitted to the university until 1916, the minutes reveal that the Board actually approved women to attend two years earlier. The minutes from January 1914 read, "President Patterson then read letter from Miss Night requesting permission to enter College as a student, and by resolution it was ordered that ladies be admitted to college courses." While the identity of "Miss Night" remains a mystery, her letter must have been convincing and paved the way for women students of the future.

The minutes from January 1914 read, "President Patterson then read letter from Miss Night requesting permission to enter College as a student, and by resolution it was ordered that ladies be admitted to college courses." While the identity of "Miss Night" remains a mystery, her letter must have been convincing and paved the way for women students of the future.
In addition, while the state of Maryland did not take total control until 1916, discussions of transferring the college—and its property—into state hands, a process which began in 1866, resumed in 1914. The topic arose at that time in response to a letter from R. M. Pindell, Jr., president of the Alumni Association, inquiring about the opinions of the stockholders in regards to moving the college further into state hands. The situation described in the minutes shows that the stockholders were in favor of this option and felt pride in the fact that they had helped build the college into an institution that was of interest to the state. 

Additional interesting moments in UMD history that are documented in these minutes include the elimination of free textbooks, the adoption of a new dining hall model, the establishment of a student financial aid fund, and a resolution celebrating the lack of fraternity hazing and condemning its practice.

To view the minutes of the Maryland Agricultural College Board of Trustees, visit http://hdl.handle.net/1903.1/20305

University of Maryland Goes Smoke-Free

July 1, 2013
Contacts: 

Crystal Brown 301-405-4621 

The University of Maryland has become a smoke-free institution as of July 1, 2013.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland has become a smoke-free institution as of July 1, 2013. The policy applies to everyone on campus, including visitors and contractors. It covers all buildings and all campus property, except for four designated smoking areas.

UMD's shift to a smoke-free campus is an extension of the University System of Maryland'sgoal to promote healthy, smoke-free environments for all faculty, staff, students and visitors on USM campuses. Smoke-free policies are now being implemented at all 12 USM institutions.

"We have an obligation to our students, employees and visitors to provide a healthy and clean campus environment," says UMD President Wallace Loh. "I am pleased that the university is taking this significant stride to promote our community's health and wellbeing, providing support to those who need it, and ensuring that all members of the campus community have the healthiest air possible to breathe."

The new policy will help reduce the health risks associated with smoking and enhance the culture of health and wellness at the university.

UMD offers a variety of resources for those who are looking to quit smoking. The University Health Center (UHC) provides a free Tobacco Cessation Program for members of the campus community. The program includes counseling, replacement therapy, acupuncture, meditation and stress management. Additional cessation resources are available on the UHC website.

Additional information about UMD's smoke-free policy is available at smokefree.umd.edu.

UMD Journalism Center Honors Meritorious Reporting

June 28, 2013
Contacts: 

Dave Ottalini 301-405-1321

The Journalism Center on Children and Families, part of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, has announced the 2013 Casey Medal award winners for meritorious journalism.COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The Journalism Center on Children and Families, part of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, has announced the 2013 Casey Medal award winners for meritorious journalism. The awards celebrate the past year’s best reporting on children, youth and families in the U.S.

Journalistic efforts that took first place honors in the 19th annual contest include stunning images of families coping with urban poverty and gun violence, shocking accounts of abuse at facilities for developmentally disabled youth and adults, a moving and honest story of the struggles between a single father and his adopted son, and more.

The Journalism Center on Children and Families received entries representing the work of hundreds of reporters, editors, photographers and producers at more than 100 news organizations. Among the winners: The Washington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer,  PBS Frontline, New York Magazine, Tampa Bay Times, WBEZ-Chicago Public Radio, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, The Center for Public Integrity, The Center for Investigative Reporting, The Des Moines Register, The Times of Northwest Indiana and WNYC’s Radio Rookies.

Judges sought journalism that packed a punch, stirred the conscience and made an impact; meticulously reported, powerfully delivered stories that shined a spotlight on issues, institutions and communities that rarely receive media attention.

The Journalism Center on Children and Families and the Medals program are funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Twelve winners will receive $1,000 at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., on September 26. Two honorees will receive additional prizes of $5,000 from the America’s Promise Alliance, a coalition of more than 350 national organizations dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth.

The full list of winners can be viewed here: http://www.journalismcenter.org/awards/2013-Casey-Medals-

UMD Taps Brian Darmody to Lead Corporate Relations Initiatives

June 28, 2013
Contacts: 

Alana Carchedi 301-405-0235

The University of Maryland has named Brian Darmody associate vice president for corporate and foundation relations.COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland has named Brian Darmody associate vice president for corporate and foundation relations. In this newly-created role, Darmody is charged with leading essential university-wide efforts to develop strategic partnerships between the University of Maryland and the corporate and foundation community.

"Throughout Brian's 30-year career with the university, he has proven to be the perfect candidate to lead this new charge," says UMD Vice President for University Relations Peter Weiler. "His unparalleled ability to develop and nurture mutually beneficial relationships for the university has been integral over the years, and we look forward to the leadership he will bring to this new role."

Darmody will steer the efforts to better align UMD's internal resources for corporate partnerships, expand outreach to corporations and foundations across the country, and magnify UMD's external visibility to provide an integrated ‘One Stop Shop’ for corporate and foundation connections.

Darmody recently served as associate vice president for research and economic development, where he was instrumental in launching the university’s technology commercialization efforts and research park and working on international partnerships. He has established a strong reputation for providing support to the business community and developing federal and industry partnerships. Darmody’s long career at the university also includes serving as legal counsel to the university, directing federal and state relations in the President’s office and heading the University of Maryland Center for Applied Policy Studies.

Darmody serves on boards for the Maryland Venture Authority, Maryland Technology Council, Maryland Space Business Roundtable, Maryland Economic Development Association, and is co-chair of the City-University Partnership in College Park, Maryland.  He is past president of the Association of University Research Parks, a board member of Fruanhofer USA, and member of the Network of Corporate Relations Officers.

He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland, College Park and his Juris Doctor from the University of Baltimore.  Darmody will officially assume his duties on July 1, 2013.

Celebrate the 4th of July at UMD

June 28, 2013
Contacts: 

City of College Park, 240-487-3570

The University of Maryland and the City of College Park are once again breaking out the red, white and blue for a fabulous Independence Day celebration.COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland and the City of College Park are once again breaking out the red, white and blue for a fabulous Independence Day celebration.

A free concert and fireworks spectacular are on tap for Thursday, July 4, 2013 at the University of Maryland in Lot 1 adjacent to Campus Drive off Adelphi Road. Residents are invited to enjoy rock and roll favorites with The Rock & Roll Relics, with their performance starting at 7:00 p.m.

Fireworks Extravaganza will then entertain us at dusk - about 9:00 p.m. You can expect a 30 to 40 minute program. In case of rain cancellation, there will be only fireworks on Friday, July 5.

Concessions open at 5:00 p.m. offering hamburgers, hot dogs, funnel cakes, ice cream, snow cones, soda and bottled water. Grass seating is limited, so bring your lawn chairs and blankets. Personal coolers are also allowed. Great family fun!

For more information: Call: 240-487-3570.

To help navigate traffic congestion, University Police offer the following recommendations:

  • Use either the Campus Drive entrance from U.S. Route 1, or the Stadium Drive entrance from Route 193. Follow police directions to parking.
  • Arrive early. Heavy traffic is expected to begin around 7:30 p.m. Late cars will be directed to park in outlying lots, which will offer free parking, but shuttle services will not be available.
  • Disabled visitors are encouraged to arrive early as disabled parking is limited in Lot AA.
  • The best routes to exit campus will be the main Campus Drive gate onto Route 1, or Stadium Drive to Route 193.
  • Alcohol and personal fireworks are prohibited on campus. University Police advise residents to bring some food and water, to supplement available concessions.

 

UMD Statement on Fisher v. University of Texas

June 27, 2013
Contacts: 

Alana Carchedi 301-405-0235

University of Maryland, College ParkCOLLEGE PARK, Md. - Earlier this week, the Supreme Court ruled on Fisher v. University of Texas, referring the case to a lower court for further review.  This case involves the race-based admissions policy of the University of Texas at Austin, brought to court by Abigail Fisher in 2008. Fisher, a white female who was not accepted to the university, argued that she had been a victim of racial discrimination because she was denied admission in favor of minority applicants with lesser credentials.
 
In its decision, the Court reinforced that race-based admissions policies must be strictly reviewed, but it did not outlaw those programs. The ruling requires universities to prove that the consideration of race in admissions is necessary and is the only way to achieve diversity on their campus.  This ruling does not have any immediate impact on our admissions practices.  Our admissions policy is based on a holistic review process and our review factors include many dimensions of diversity, including race.
 
The University of Maryland remains committed to the broadest diversity of our students, faculty and staff.  Diversity is a core institutional value and one of our greatest strengths.  It is not merely a duty, but an advantage that will help our students succeed in an increasingly diverse workplace and global community.   We will carefully digest the implications of the Fisher case and continue to pursue the most effective and lawful paths to maintain our commitment to diversity.

--The University of Maryland, College Park

Supporting a Campus Farm for the Future

June 25, 2013
Contacts: 

Sara Gavin 301-405-9235

Charlie and Judy Iager at their dairy farm in Fulton, Md.; Image Credit: Edwin RemsbergCOLLEGE PARK, Md. – Two University of Maryland alumni, Charlie '65 and Judy '66 Iager (pictured right), spent countless hours together on the university's Campus Farm during their time as students. Now, nearly a half a century later, the Iagers are helping to ensure the farm's revitalization, making a six-figure gift to kick off a $3 million fundraising effort for its first major renovation in 50 years.

The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources' $6 million project calls for replacing an asphalt parking area in the center of the farm with a covered livestock pen that allows seated students and visitors to observe instructors working with animals. A new enclosed 18,000-square-foot teaching pavilion will also provide classroom and viewing areas.

Nestled among dormitories, sports arenas and classroom buildings, the property is unique among urban universities along the East Coast and serves as a nod to UMD's roots as an agricultural college.  

The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources' $6 million project calls for replacing an asphalt parking area in the center of the farm with a covered livestock pen that allows seated students and visitors to observe instructors working with animals. A new enclosed 18,000-square-foot teaching pavilion will also provide classroom and viewing areas.Today, the campus farm is about 4.3 acres in size, a far cry from the 90-plus acres that included a working dairy operation when the facility was launched in 1937. But it endures as a vital, hands-on teaching lab for students in the burgeoning animal science program. Enrollment has climbed from about 180 in 2002 to 288 today, with students studying everything from applied animal physiology to equine behavior to commercial poultry management.

"(The farm) really makes a lot of students feel at home, at least the ones who love animals," says Judy. "It's important to have a nice, updated facility where they can feel comfortable and relate."

The Iagers hope that by helping the Campus Farm get a facelift, they'll be encouraging the next crop of Terps to create their own memories there.

"You go to college so you can learn for the rest of your life," says Charlie.  "The University of Maryland is where it all started for us."

To learn more about the campus farm revitalization, visit http://agnr.umd.edu/campusfarm.

 

This story originally appeared in the Spring 2013 issue of Terp Magazine.

Research: Can Climate Change Heat Up Conflict?

June 21, 2013
Contacts: 

Jonas Siegel, UMD School of Public Policy/CISSM, 301-405-4020
Neil Tickner, UMD Communications, 301-405-4622

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – A University of Maryland-led team of policy experts and scientists is seeking to understand how the impacts of climate change could affect civil conflicts. The team will develop new models of the relationship between conflict, socio-economic conditions and climate. They will use these to project future conflict and develop interventions.

The U.S. Department of Defense is funding the research through a new three-year, $1.9 million grant – part of its highly selective Minerva program of social science research.

Lead researcher Elisabeth Gilmore, an assistant professor in the University of Maryland's (UMD) School of Public Policy"It's likely that physical and economic disruptions resulting from climate change could heighten tensions in sensitive areas of the world," says lead researcher Elisabeth Gilmore, an assistant professor in UMD's School of Public Policy. "We hope to develop an integrated model to help researchers and policy makers better anticipate civil conflict under a range of climate change scenarios."

For example, Gilmore says that in a region with ongoing conflicts such as sub-Saharan Africa, additional changes in food and water availability, public health crises, and disruptive migration could further destabilize civil order.

The team will use statistical models and case studies to identify the best predictors of climate-related conflict. It will then use this data and a novel simulation method to generate forecasts of conflict over a range of socio-economic and climate change scenarios. Finally, the project will identify a range of military and policy interventions that could reduce the occurrence of civil conflict under climate change.

In addition to Gilmore, the research team includes John Steinbruner, director of UMD's Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM); Halvard Buhaug, research director at the Peace Research Institute in Oslo (PRIO); Havard Hegre, research professor at PRIO; Katherine Calvin, research scientist at the Joint Global Change Research Institute (JGCRI), a UMD collaboration with the Department of Energy; and Stephanie Waldhoff, scientist at JGCRI.

The research grant was awarded by the Defense Department's Minerva Initiative, which aims to improve the department's basic understanding of the social, cultural, behavioral, and political forces that shape regions of the world of strategic importance to the United States. The UMD project is one of only 14 funded by Minerva from a total pool of 280.

UMD also won a Minerva grant in the previous round in 2012, supporting research into radicalization and de-radicalization.

Full Agenda for New VP of Administration & Finance

June 20, 2013
Contacts: 

Alana Carchedi 301-405-0235

The University of Maryland's new vice president for administration and finance Carlo Colella is already attacking the broad responsibilities of his post. COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland's new vice president for administration and finance Carlo Colella is already attacking the broad responsibilities of his post. Colella, who has risen through the ranks of the division over nearly 25 years, comes with a thorough knowledge of one of the biggest administrative portfolios on campus.

Among his responsibilities, Colella directs campus budgeting, fiscal planning, public safety, real estate development, community engagement, human resources, facilities management and other university operations.

"I believe in the power of this university to make a difference in the community and the world. The services in our division are needed for the university to reach its goals, and the operation of the university rests on our shoulders," says Colella. "Our chief job is to move the university forward, whether it is preparing to join the Big Ten, the deliberations surrounding a potential partnership with the Corcoran or the revitalization of Route 1"

During his career at the university, Colella has established a record of accomplishment in successive positions of increasing responsibility. Previously, as the associate vice president for Facilities Management, he led 800 employees in six departments by fostering an ethos of excellence and community.

His responsibilities included delivery of a $1.5 billion capital program across seven University System of Maryland institutions. He has developed excellent working relationships with colleagues on campus and in USM as well as with state, county, and local officials.

"Carlo has a profound expertise and knowledge of all the operations that keep this campus growing and thriving," says UMD President Wallace Loh. "The trust he has earned, along with his engineering background and experience in managing our capital budget, put him in a superb position to advance our campus growth and development."

Colella, a registered professional engineer, earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in civil engineering from the University of Maryland and the University of California, Berkeley, respectively. He will serve as vice president for a defined term – until next year when a national search for the position will open.

A Battery Made of Wood?

June 19, 2013
Contacts: 

Martha Heil 301-405-0876

Wood fibers help nano-scale batteries keep their structure

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - A sliver of wood coated with tin could make a tiny, long-lasting, efficient and environmentally friendly battery.

But don’t try it at home yet – the components in the battery tested by scientists at the University of Maryland are a thousand times thinner than a piece of paper. Using sodium instead of lithium, as many rechargeable batteries do, makes the battery environmentally benign. Sodium doesn’t store energy as efficiently as lithium, so you won’t see this battery in your cell phone - instead, its low cost and common materials would make it ideal to store huge amounts of energy at once, such as solar energy at a power plant.

Existing batteries are often created on stiff bases, which are too brittle to withstand the swelling and shrinking that happens as electrons are stored in and used up from the battery. Liangbing Hu, Teng Li and their team found that wood fibers are supple enough to let their sodium-ion battery last more than 400 charging cycles, which puts it among the longest lasting nanobatteries.

"The inspiration behind the idea comes from the trees," said Hu, an assistant professor of materials science. "Wood fibers that make up a tree once held mineral-rich water, and so are ideal for storing liquid electrolytes, making them not only the base but an active part of the battery."

Lead author Hongli Zhu and other team members noticed that after charging and discharging the battery hundreds of times, the wood ended up wrinkled but intact. Computer models showed that that the wrinkles effectively relax the stress in the battery during charging and recharging, so that the battery can survive many cycles.

"Pushing sodium ions through tin anodes often weaken the tin’s connection to its base material,” said Li, an associate professor of mechanical engineering. "But the wood fibers are soft enough to serve as a mechanical buffer, and thus can accommodate tin’s changes.  This is the key to our long-lasting sodium-ion batteries."

The team’s research was supported by the University of Maryland and the U.S. National Science Foundation.

The full paper is available here.

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