Gov. Rick Perry appointed three new members to the UNT System Board of Regents in November. Don A. Buchholz ('52), Gwyn Shea and Jack A. Wall ('64) replace Bobby Ray ('69), Burle Pettit ('60) and Marjorie Craft ('68), whose terms expired in May.
Buchholz chairs the board of directors of the SWS Group, a publicly owned holding company with subsidiaries providing securities clearing, securities brokerage, investment banking and advisory services. At UNT, he serves on the board of advisors for the College of Business Administration and as a director on the UNT Foundation board.
Shea served as Texas' secretary of state from 2002 to 2003 and represented the Irving area in the Texas House of Representatives for 10 years. She was appointed constable for Dallas County Precinct 2 in 1993, and was later elected to the position in 1994, 1996 and 2000. She attended UNT and graduated from the Dallas Baptist University Police Academy.
Wall ('64) is a rancher and investor who previously served as branch manager, partner and senior vice president of J.C. Bradford/UBS Paine Webber of Dallas. Prior to that, he was with Epper, Guerin and Turner/Principal Financial Securities for 28 years. He is a director of the UNT Foundation and a member of the President's Council and the board of advisors for the College of Business Administration.
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New vice presidents
Three new vice presidents joined UNT this fall. Gilda Garcia, former director of equity and access at Texas State University in San Marcos, became UNT's first vice president for institutional equity and diversity. Her duties will include advancing a campus climate of inclusion, providing direction in recruiting and attracting diverse faculty and staff, and soliciting and managing new funding to support equity and inclusion initiatives. The position also will ensure the university responds to state and federal reporting and investigative requirements.
Andrew M. Harris began serving as vice president for finance and administration. He comes to UNT from the University of Chicago, where he served as associate vice president and university budget director from 2004 until he was called to active duty in Afghanistan in 2005. He has 18 years of commissioned military service and is a lieutenant colonel in the Vermont Army National Guard. In addition to providing stewardship over UNT's more than $580 million annual budget and other resources, he will serve as vice chancellor for finance for the UNT System. He replaces Phil Diebel, who retired after 26 years at UNT.
Vishwanath "Vish" Prasad, executive dean and distinguished professor in the College of Engineering and Computing at Florida International University in Miami, joined UNT as vice president for research. He previously served as associate dean for research and graduate studies and leading professor of engineering at Stony Brook University-State University of New York. His duties will include promoting and broadening the university's research mission, building partnerships with industry and helping to further develop the UNT Research Park, the interdisciplinary Center for Advanced Research and Technology and other research centers and institutes.
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UNT Grammy nominees
Two UNT College of Music faculty members - Steve Wiest ('88 M.M.), assistant professor of jazz studies, and Joseph Banowetz, professor of music and a renowned pianist - earned Grammy nominations this year.
Wiest received a nomination in the Best Instrumental Arrangement category for his arrangement of "Besame Mucho"from the CD The One and Only Maynard Ferguson.
Banowetz, along with pianist Alton Chung Ming Chan ('82, '94 Ph.D.), received the nomination for Best Chamber Music Performance for "30 Songs of the Russian People" on the album Balakirev and Russian Folksong.Two of the album's producers, Marina A. and Victor Ledin, earned a nomination for Classical Producer of the Year.
Several more of this year's Grammy nominees have UNT ties, including the Eagles, with former UNT student Don Henley, for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals for "How Long"; Brave Combo, which includes Carl Finch ('75, '79 M.F.A.) and former students Alan Emert and Danny O'Brien, for Best Polka Album for Polka's Revenge; Bubba Hernandez ('84), former member of Brave Combo, with Alex Meixner in the Best Polka Album category for Polka Freak Out.
Also, former UNT jazz student Norah Jones performed on Herbie Hancock's River: The Joni Letters, nominated for Album of the Year.
Winners will be announced at the 50th annual Grammy Awards ceremony Feb. 10 in Los Angeles.
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Nepal field school
Eight UNT students are spending the holidays in Nepal as part of a geography and environmental engineering field school offered in collaboration with Kathmandu and Tribhuvan universities there. The course, which runs from Dec. 17 to Jan. 10, is taught by Miguel Acevedo, Regents Professor of geography, with guest lecturers from universities in Nepal and Spain.
Nepal, in southern Asia between India and China, is home to endangered one-horn rhinoceroses and Bengal tigers and a diverse range of ecosystems and topography. Students in the course, from both UNT and Nepal, will focus on human interactions with the environment and learn how to approach real-life interdisciplinary problems.
They will study urban development, environmental quality and watershed management in Kathmandu; endangered wildlife management, community forest practices and the application of models to the study of grassland and floodplain hydrology in Chitwan National Park; and mountain ecology at Pokhara, at the base of the Himalayas. Two UNT doctoral students from Nepal, Vivek Thapa ('05 M.S.) and Rajan Rijal, helped coordinate the course.
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