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Terps Celebrate and Honor Veterans, this Week and all Year

November 6, 2017

Lee Tune, 301-405-4679

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland strives year round to recognize, support, honor and remember the nation’s Veterans, particularly UMD’s large community of faculty, staff, student and alumni Veterans. The university does so with extra emphasis and attention during Veterans Week November 6 - 12.

Photo of Veteran's Day Service ImageThe centerpiece of the week’s events recognizing Veterans and their service to the nation is UMD’s Veterans Day Honor and Remember Service on, Friday November 10, from noon to 2 p.m. in the university's Memorial Chapel. The Chapel, one of the University's most visible and revered icons, was dedicated in 1952 as a memorial to fallen Veterans from the University of Maryland.

This moving service will feature remarks from Vice President for Student Affairs Linda Clement;  personal ​stories by Veterans and UMD alumni Marwin Glenn, United States Marine Corps (Ret.), 2019 Masters Candidate, Robert H. Smith School of Business, and Jan Atwood, United States Army and Army Reserves (Ret.), M.A., Recreation, University of Maryland. There will also be stirring music; remembrance activities, including the reading of names of 81 UMD Veterans who have died in the past year and a Multifaith Reflection. A buffet lunch on the Garden Chapel Patio will follow the service in the Chapel. During lunch, attendees are invited to walk the Garden Labyrinth in honor of a Veteran past or present.  

Also, a Vigil in honor of Veterans who have died in service to their country will be conducted from noon to 3 p.m.  at the front of the Memorial Chapel by UMD Army, Air Force, and Navy ROTC detachments. 

"It is important that we celebrate the service and outstanding contributions of our Veterans to the nation and our community," said UMD Veterans Day Planning Committee Chair Denise McHugh, Memorial Chapel manager. "We are thrilled and deeply honored to continue the tradition of honoring that service through this event and other activities on campus."

In addition to the Chapel Memorial Day service, 2017 Veterans Week events include a Professional Development Workshop, a LGBQ+ luncheon, a Battle of the Branches bowling tournament, a Kayak football tournament and a Veterans Reception and an honoring of Veterans during Saturday’s Terp Home football game against the University of Michigan. 

This year the University, its community of veterans, and its office of Veteran Student Life also are celebrating 10 years of UMD’s Terp Vets student organization, established to provide its members the opportunity to recognize and support the community of veterans on and off campus through a variety of volunteer and social events while building a network that enhances Terp Veterans personal and career growth. 

For more information about UMD’s Veterans Week and Veterans Day events or the Terp Vets student organization contact: Veterans Student Life 301-314-0073, vetstudentlife@umd.edu, or http://stamp.umd.edu/vsl.

UMD School of Music Launches Competition to Write Lyrics to State Song

November 6, 2017

Katie Lawson, 301-405-4622

COLLEGE PARK, Md.-- The University of Maryland School of Music in the College of Arts and Humanities is launching a university-wide competition that invites UMD students to write lyrics to the tune of the state song “Maryland, My Maryland.” The competition asks students to craft lyrics that express the pride they feel for the State of Maryland.

“We are excited to engage students on a topic that elicits such strong feelings,” said Jason Geary, director of the University of Maryland School of Music. “This competition allows us to harness the creativity and talent of our students while compelling them to reflect on the vital relationship between the university and the state as a whole.”

As part of UMD’s ongoing efforts to reaffirm its values as a campus community, the university is assessing the songs that are performed at Intercollegiate Athletic events and has suspended the performance of "Maryland, My Maryland.” This competition will allow students to contribute lyrics that demonstrate their pride in the State of Maryland and are consistent with the values of our institution.

All undergraduate and graduate students currently enrolled at UMD are eligible to submit song lyrics, and co-authored lyrics will be accepted. The lyrics must be based on  the song’s existing melody, which is taken from the folk song widely known as “O Tannenbaum” or, in English, “O Christmas Tree.” The state song currently has nine verses, and the winning submission must have lyrics consisting of at least one verse.

Submissions will be reviewed by a committee made up of students, faculty and staff. The School of Music has received funds from the university to provide an award of $1,500 for first-prize, $750 for second and $500 for third. Winners will be announced in early December.

Submissions are due by Monday, November 20, 2017 and must be submitted at apply.arhu.umd.edu/lyricscompetition. Competition frequently asked questions can be found at go.umd.edu/lyricscompetition

University of Maryland Announces Homecoming Week 2018: Oct. 7-14

November 3, 2017

Natifia Mullings, 301-405-4076

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Save the Date! The 2018 University of Maryland Homecoming week celebrations will take place Oct. 7-14, 2018.  Homecoming week welcomes students, alumni and families to campus with a full slate of events, including the Maryland Terrapins football game against Rutgers on October 13. 

The University of Maryland announced the dates of the 2018 Homecoming at the conclusion of last week’s 2017 Homecoming festivities. 

Highlights from this year’s Homecoming week include:

  • Over 300,000 meals packed in one day with help from 2,400 volunteers during a service project hosted by Terps Against Hunger and the Department of Fraternity and Sorority Life; 
  • Two sold-out comedy performances featuring “Daily Show” comedian Hasan Minhaj at Ritchie Coliseum; 
  • Inflatables, games, face painting, live music and fireworks at Terp Carnival on McKeldin Mall;
  • An all-you-can-eat feast complete with Maryland steamed crabs hosted by the Student Government Association; and 
  • A celebration of multicultural talent at the Nyumburu Cultural Center Juke Joint, showcasing dance, spoken word and musical performances from student groups across campus.


Homecoming Service ProjectHomecoming Crab FeastHomecoming Juke JointHomecoming Carnival Fireworks

UMD Awards Sustainable Maryland Certified Status to 13 Municipalities

November 3, 2017

Jenny Beard301-405-3577  

COLLEGE PARK, Md.—The Environmental Finance Center (EFC) at the University of Maryland announced the thirteen municipalities that achieved Sustainable Maryland Certified status for 2017, including nine that were re-certified from 2014. The certifications were bestowed at the Sustainable Maryland Awards during the annual Maryland Municipal League Conference on October 13 in Rockville, Maryland.

The Sustainable Maryland program provides support and guidance to municipalities looking for cost-effective and strategic ways to protect their natural assets and revitalize their communities. Using best practices in resource areas like water, energy, planning, health, food and economy, a municipality earns points toward sustainability certification. Currently, 68 of the state’s 157 incorporated municipalities have registered with the program to seek this award designation, with 39 achieving certification as of this year.

“The growing number of municipalities that share a vision for state-wide sustainability is a testament to Maryland’s commitment to a resilient future,” said Dan Nees, director of the Environmental Finance Center. “Now more than ever, it is critical for local leaders and advocates to take charge of moving their communities towards becoming healthier and more sustainable. It is exciting to see our Sustainable Maryland Certified program continue to empower elected officials and citizens with every new community we welcome.”

Group photo of sustainable maryland awards ceremony

The newly certified and re-certified (denoted by *) communities are listed below, followed by a notable achievement from their local sustainability efforts:

*Town of Bel Air (Prince George’s County; first certified in 2014, re-certified in 2017 – Bel Air launched a new Community Garden in 2016, offering 70 garden plots to local residents.

*Town of Berwyn Heights (Prince George’s County; first certified in 2014, re-certified in 2017) – Berwyn Heights marked its 20th year as a Tree City USA community.

*Town of Boonsboro (Washington County; first certified in 2014, re-certified in 2017) – Boonsboro established an innovative Forest Mitigation Bank, which off-sets development within town by preserving land within a 45-acre town-owned forest.

Town of Burkittsville (Frederick County) – Burkittsville developed several innovative programs to support the local food economy, including a Backyard Produce Exchange, Local Food Directory, an annual Farm-toFork Town Picnic, and the Burkittsville Food Forest.

*Town of Chesapeake Beach (Calvert County; first certified in 2014, re-certified in 2017) – Chesapeake Beach hosted multiple volunteer stream clean-ups along sections of the local Fishing Creek. Additionally, several Osprey nests and monitoring cameras were installed by the town in Fishing Creek Marsh, with a live stream available to the local residents through the town website.

*Town of Cheverly (Prince George’s County; first certified in 2014, re-certified in 2017) – Cheverly amended a previous ordinance to allow bees to be kept on municipal and residential property. This was quickly followed by the installation of two new apiaries in the Community Garden.

City of Frostburg (the first municipality to be certified in Allegany County) – Frostburg city council passed a new local ordinance, allowing residents to keep small numbers of chickens on their property within the city, thereby promoting small-scale, local food production.

*City of Greenbelt (Prince George’s County; first certified in 2014, re-certified in 2017) - Greenbelt’s DPW initiated a food scraps composting program, and has since educated community members about composting at 22 different festivals and community events since. Additionally, the Green Team’s Zero Waste Circle has created an Organics Task Force which is researching city-wide compost options and the respective pricing.

Town of Mount Airy (Carroll/Frederick Counties; the first municipality to be certified in Carroll County) – Mount Airy took a step forward in supporting renewable energy by installing an electric charging station in the Municipal Parking Lot at Park Avenue and Cross Street.

Town of North Beach (Calvert County) – North Beach secured grant funding from the Fish and Wildlife Foundation to complete a 60-foot living shoreline project inside the Walton Beach Nature Preserve.

*Town of Riverdale Park (Prince George’s County; first certified in 2014, re-certified in 2017) - As part of a large sustainable design project within the Mixed-Use Town Center Zone of Riverdale Park, the Riverdale Park Station will be the first certified “LEED - Neighborhood Development” project completed in Prince George’s County.

*City of Takoma Park (2017 “Sustainability Champion” for highest point total award; Prince George’s County; first certified in 2014, re-certified in 2017) - In addition to being an active participant in the Montgomery County Solar Co-op, Takoma Park has reached maximum municipal roof solar capacity. The city purchases the rest of its municipal electricity through wind credits, and has plans to complete the installation of 1,500 solar-powered LED street lights by the end of 2017.

*Town of University Park (Prince George’s County; first certified in 2014, re-certified in 2017) – University Park funds and promotes the annual town-wide “Porchfest”, an innovative way to build community cohesiveness.

A full report on each certified community’s Actions can be viewed here:


According to Mike Hunninghake, program manager for Sustainable Maryland, “In a time when municipal leadership is critical to driving change across a number of social and environmental issues, we are pleased to see municipalities throughout Maryland continue to do the hard and necessary work to be good stewards of their communities. This year’s class of Sustainable Maryland Certified communities serve as beacons along a path forward during these uncertain times.”

With the support of the Maryland Municipal League, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Town Creek Foundation, Sustainable Maryland is a free and voluntary program that helps communities choose a direction for their greening efforts; complete their chosen actions with help from program tools, trainings, expert guidance and other resources; and get recognized statewide for their accomplishments. For more information about Sustainable Maryland, please visit www.sustainablemaryland.com.

The Environmental Finance Center at the University of Maryland works to equip communities with the knowledge, resources and leadership needed to empower decision-making that advances resource management priorities in an innovative and efficient way. Through direct technical assistance, capacity building and program and policy analysis, it strives to move communities towards a more sustainable and resilient future. For more information about the Environmental Finance Center at the University of Maryland, please visit www.efc.umd.edu. 

University of Maryland Celebrates Opening of A. James Clark Hall

November 2, 2017

Natifia Mullings, 301-405-4076

Tour state-of-the-art bioengineering facilities that will spark innovations in human health

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- University of Maryland, state and local officials will gather to dedicate A. James Clark Hall, the university’s new engineering facility that will transform the region’s biotech corridor. Media will be able to tour the 184,000-square-foot building and see the state-of-the-art bioengineering facilities where students from one of the university’s fastest growing degree programs will spark innovations in human health.  A. James Clark Hall will serve as a hub for new bioengineering partnerships and collaborations throughout the Baltimore-Washington region.


  • Wallace D. Loh, President, University of Maryland
  •  Robert L. Caret, Chancellor, University System of Maryland
  • Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr., Maryland Senate President
  •  Maggie McIntosh, Chair of the Appropriations Committee, Maryland House of Delegates
  • Courtney Clark Pastrick, Board Chair, A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation
  • Darryll Pines, Dean and Farvardin Professor, A. James Clark School of Engineering, University of Maryland


Friday, November 10, 2017

9:15 a.m. - building tour for media

10:30 a.m. - speaking program begins




A. James Clark Hall

8278 Paint Branch Dr.

College Park, MD 20742



Media must RSVP by Nov. 9 to secure nearby complimentary parking. General parking is available at the XFINITY Center.  


Media will be required to show identification and credentials at the media check-in table prior to entering the event. 


A mult-box audio feed will be available at the event.

University of Maryland Statement on Flyers Targeting Campus — November 2, 2017

November 2, 2017

Katie Lawson, 301-405-4622

Statement from university spokesperson Katie Lawson:

The university has been targeted by an online campaign that puts up posters in public areas, and particularly college campuses, with the goal of provoking controversy. The organizers' stated goals are to cause "overreactions" and get "air-time on some local stations," and say that resulting protests would be a "bonus." Posters have reportedly been found in several other communities.

Further questions should be referred to PGPD. We urge our community to report these posters and all instances of hate to UMPD. Hate is not welcome here.

University of Maryland Statement on #UMDNotaHome — November 2, 2017

November 2, 2017

Katie Lawson, 301-405-4622

Statement from university spokesperson Katie Lawson:

Attorney Diane Krejsa's recent remarks were part of a complicated discussion about the tension between the constitutionally-guaranteed right to free speech and the importance of creating a safe and inclusive campus environment. The university regrets that these comments were misunderstood as unwelcoming, when we are working tirelessly to be a welcoming and inclusive campus for all. Krejsa's comments were intended to highlight legal and other differences between a public university residence hall and a private home. In a university residence hall, students should expect to meet people who hold different opinions from their own and to talk about these differences. This is a valuable part of the college experience. We are proud that the University of Maryland is considered "a home" by thousands of our current and former students.


UMD Doctoral Student’s Brief Video on his Revolutionary Finding about Bee Health Wins International Competition

November 2, 2017

Mary Carroll-Mason, 301-405-7792    

COLLEGE PARK, Md.-- A University of Maryland doctoral candidate in the Department of Entomology, Samuel Ramsey, has been named both the Judge’s First Place and People’s Choice award winners in the annual Three Minute Thesis (3MT) contest, sponsored by Universitas 21 (U21), a global network of leading research universities. The contest challenges graduate students to communicate the significance of their research to a non-specialist audience in three minutes.

Ramsey competed against 16 other finalists from U21 member institutions across the world. He was selected for the judge’s First Place Award by a distinguished international panel of judges, and received the People’s Choice award as a result of online popular voting. 

“This experience has been challenging but in the best way possible,” said Ramsey. “So many groundbreaking scientific discoveries never move beyond the pages of journals to public consciousness or public policy, partly because it’s difficult to explain things briefly without sacrificing accuracy. That’s why I’m so glad that I entered this contest. It forced me to refine this skill; one that I’m certain will serve me well throughout my career in science.”

Ramsey conducts research on a tiny parasitic mite, Varroa destructor, which is the single biggest contributor to the decline in health of honey populations worldwide. Originating in Asia, the invasive Varroa mite is wreaking havoc on honey bee colonies, both by feeding on adult and immature bees, and by serving as a vector for five debilitating viruses. 

For nearly 50 years, researchers have believed that the mite fed on the hemolymph (the “blood”) of the honey bee. Ramsey’s extensive research on the feeding habits and nutrition of the Varroa mite provides strong evidence that this model is wrong, and that current methods of controlling the parasite are not only ineffective, but actually may contribute to the parasites developing resistance to pesticides as well. 

Ramsey’s research establishes that the mites are primarily feeding on the honey bee’s fat body tissue—an organ in insects that serves a similar role to the human liver. Since several existing systemic pesticides were formulated assuming that mites fed on hemolymph, this discovery explains why these pesticides were never successful in controlling the mites. The mites will never ingest enough to kill them, but frequent exposure may contribute to future resistance. Ramsey’s work also explains why honey bees suffer so many negative consequences from a parasite believed to consume a small amount of their blood. His discovery will enable researchers to develop more targeted control techniques that could help restore honey bee populations worldwide.

Steve Fetter, Ph.D., interim dean of the Graduate School and associate provost for academic affairs at the University of Maryland, spoke of Samuel’s achievement: “We are thrilled that Sammy Ramsey won both the U21 3MT® judge's prize and the People's Choice prize in this year's competition. Sammy's presentation is a wonderful example of how researchers can describe their work to a general audience in a clear, compelling and engaging manner."

Ramsey is currently a visiting researcher at Chiang Mai University in Thailand, where he is studying parasites that attack Asian honey bee populations. He plans to defend his dissertation this spring. He joins a growing list of UMD students who have successfully competed in the 3MT contest. The University  has won more awards than any other single institution. In 2015, UMD student Carly Muletz Wolz, a doctoral candidate in biological sciences, won the People’s Choice award, and in  2014, the first year that UMD entered the competition, Amy Marquardt, who completed her PhD in material science and engineering, won both the judges’ First Place and People’s Choice awards.

Congressman Elijah E. Cummings to Address UMD’s 2017 Winter Graduates

November 1, 2017

Katie Lawson, 301-405-4622

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland announces today that Congressman Elijah E. Cummings will deliver the university's winter commencement address on Dec. 19, 2017 at the XFINITY Center. Congressman Cummings will also receive an honorary doctorate of public service from the university.

Headshot of Congressman Cummings“What an outstanding role model for our students and the entire campus,” said University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh. “Congressman Cummings rose from a humble background, embraced the power of education, and in 35 years of service has never forgotten where he came from. Colleagues on both sides of the aisle deeply admire his commitment to bipartisanship. His message has great power.”

“We are at pivotal time in our nation and our world, and it is a tremendous honor to address a bright, talented and ambitious graduating class as they enter our workforce and make an impact on the future,” said Cummings.

“Congressman Cummings embodies our university’s core values of diversity, inclusion and respect,” said UMD Senior Vice President and Provost Mary Ann Rankin. “We look forward to hearing how those values underscore Congressman Cummings' life’s work and how he can inspire our graduates to embed those values in their future endeavors.”  

Congressman Cummings began his career of public service in the Maryland House of Delegates, where he served for 14 years and became the first African American in Maryland history to be named Speaker Pro Tem. Since 1996, Congressman Cummings has represented Maryland’s 7th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Congressman Cummings currently serves as the ranking member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. He is also a senior member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, serving on both the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation and the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials.

He serves on numerous boards and commissions, including as chairman of the Maritime Advisory Board for New Era Academy; the U.S. Naval Academy Board of Visitors; the Morgan State University Board of Regents; the University of Maryland Law School Board of Advisors; and the SEED School of Maryland Board of Directors.

Congressman Cummings is an honorary board member of KIPP Baltimore Schools and the Baltimore School for the Arts; and was also the holder of the Gwendolyn S. and Colbert I. King Endowed Chair in Public Policy Lecture Series at Howard University from 2014 – 2016.

He was born and raised in Baltimore, Md., obtained his bachelor’s degree in political science from Howard University, serving as Student Government President and graduating Phi Beta Kappa, and then graduated from the University of Maryland School of Law. He has also received 12 honorary doctoral degrees from universities throughout the nation.

UMD & Duke Scientists Create Molecule with Promise for HIV Vaccine Design

November 1, 2017

Irene Ying, 301-405-5204

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Scientists at the University of Maryland and Duke University have created a novel protein-sugar designed to break down HIV’s sugar shield defense. In animal model research, this molecule successfully stimulated an immune response against sugars that usually shield HIV against immune system attack.  The new molecule could one day become part of a successful HIV vaccine.

Artist's rendering of HIV covered with sugar-protein molecules“An obstacle to creating an effective HIV vaccine is the difficulty of getting the immune system to generate antibodies against the sugar shield of multiple HIV strains,” said Lai-Xi Wang, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry at UMD. “Our method addresses this problem by designing a vaccine component that mimics a protein-sugar part of this shield.”

Wang and collaborators designed the vaccine candidate using an HIV protein fragment linked to a sugar group. When injected into rabbits, the vaccine candidate stimulated antibody responses against the sugar shield in four different HIV strains. The results were published in the journal Cell Chemical Biology on October 26, 2017.

The protein fragment of the vaccine candidate comes from gp120, a protein that covers HIV like a protective envelope. A sugar shield covers the gp120 envelope, bolstering HIV’s defenses. The rare HIV-infected individuals who can keep the virus at bay without medication typically have antibodies that attack gp120.

Researchers have tried to create an HIV vaccine targeting gp120, but had little success for two reasons. First, the sugar shield on HIV resembles sugars found in the human body and therefore does not stimulate a strong immune response. Second, more than 60 strains of HIV exist and the virus mutates frequently. As a result, antibodies against gp120 from one HIV strain will not protect against other strains or a mutant strain.

To overcome these challenges, Wang and his collaborators focused on a small fragment of gp120 protein that is common among HIV strains. The researchers used a synthetic chemistry method they previously developed to combine the gp120 fragment with a sugar molecule, also shared among HIV strains, to mimic the sugar shield on the HIV envelope.

Next, the researchers injected the protein-sugar vaccine candidate into rabbits and found that the rabbits’ immune systems produced antibodies that physically bound to gp120 found in four dominant strains of HIV in circulation today. Injecting rabbits with a vaccine candidate that contained the protein fragment without the sugar group resulted in antibodies that primarily bound to gp120 from only one HIV strain.

“This result was significant because producing antibodies that directly target the defensive sugar shield is an important step in developing immunity against the target and therefore the first step in developing a truly effective vaccine,” Wang said.

Although the rabbits’ antibodies bound to gp120, they did not prevent live HIV from infecting cells. This result did not surprise Wang, who noted that it usually takes humans up to two years to build immunity against HIV and the animal study only lasted two months.

“We have not hit a home run yet,” Wang noted. “But the ability of the vaccine candidate to raise substantial antibodies against the sugar shield in only two months is encouraging; other studies took up to four years to achieve similar results. This means that our molecule is a relatively strong inducer of the immune response.”

The researchers’ next steps will be to conduct longer-term studies in combination with other vaccine candidates, hone in on what areas of gp120 the antibodies are binding to and determine how they can increase the antibodies’ effectiveness at neutralizing HIV.

This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (Award No. R01AI113896). The content of this article does not necessarily reflect the views of the organization.


Photo caption: An artist's rendition of HIV (foreground). The knobs (purple) covering the virus are sugar-protein molecules, including gp120, that shield the rest of the virus (pink). Photo credit: National Cancer Institute 



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