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    Research collaborations

President Gretchen M. Bataille spoke to about 650 faculty and staff members during the annual Fall Convocation Sept. 9. (Photo by Jonathan Reynolds)

At UNT's annual Fall Convocation, President Gretchen M. Bataille announced the university's plan to invest at least $25 million in collaborative research as part of a sweeping effort to strengthen the state's economy, bolster research and develop technology vital to addressing today's most pressing needs.

The main thrust of UNT's research investment plan is to recruit world-renowned faculty who will expand the university's contributions in fields where UNT already has a proven nucleus of research excellence. Simultaneously, improvements to infrastructure will be made by developing the available space on campus, and more of the equipment needed for the research initiatives will be provided.

The plan will begin this year with the development of six research clusters that capitalize on the expertise and reputations of current UNT faculty members. The work of the clusters includes the discovery of more effective ways to treat conditions such as autism, cancer and heart disease; the development of more durable jet engines and better materials for an array of uses; the investigation of molecular plant signals that could lead to innovations across the scientific spectrum; and the exploration of new ways to support sustainable environments.

UNT's first six clusters will align common research efforts in several broad areas: bio/nano-photonics, computational modeling and simulation of materials, developmental physiology and genetics, signaling mechanisms in plants, autism spectrum disorders, and advanced research in technology and the arts.

Hurricane relief

The UNT community worked with Red Cross volunteers to turn the UNT Coliseum into an evacuee shelter after Hurricanes Gustav and Ike headed for the Gulf Coast. (Photo by Angilee Wilkerson)

Three years after helping evacuees from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, UNT once again became a shelter for those fleeing the season's storms this September. In the early morning hours of Sept. 1, with Hurricane Gustav due to make landfall on the Louisiana coast, a total of 283 UNT students and student-athletes worked with Red Cross volunteers to help transform the Coliseum into an evacuee shelter. The process requires removing the basketball floor and taping down a grid pattern to allow for the required sleeping space before setting up cots. The shelter for Gustav evacuees closed Sept. 4 after housing 131 residents from southern Louisiana.

But with Hurricane Ike on the heels of Gustav, the Coliseum was again set up Sept. 12 as a temporary shelter to receive evacuees. It housed 147 Southeast Texas residents before closing five days later. In addition to housing evacuees at the Coliseum, UNT welcomed about 80 student-athletes, coaches and staff from Lamar University in Beaumont into the Mean Green Village after Lamar was damaged by Ike. While on campus, Lamar's cross country, golf, soccer, tennis and volleyball teams had access to UNT's training facilities. Lamar, which was without power after the storm, planned to resume classes Sept. 25.

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Business luncheon

The Murphy Enterprise Center will host its 2008 Leadership Luncheon Nov. 14 at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas. The event will bring together about 1,000 business leaders from the Dallas-Fort Worth region.

The keynote speaker is Archie Manning, a humanitarian known for his successful career as a National Football League quarterback and as the father of quarterbacks Peyton and Eli Manning.

For more information, visit or call (940) 565-2848.

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Organ inauguration

Renowned organ maker Hellmuth Wolff of Wolff and Associates built UNT's new concert organ. (Photo by Mike Woodruff)

The College of Music is hosting a three-day conference during the official inauguration of the Richard Ardoin-Paul Voertman concert organ Oct. 20-22.

The conference, which will focus on specific repertory and performance practices relating to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach and 19th- and 20th-century music, includes master classes and concerts by James David Christie, Dame Gillian Weir and Maître Jean Guillou and sessions by distinguished lecturers and respondents from across North America.

The $1.5 million organ in the Murchison Performing Arts Center was built by renowned maker Hellmuth Wolff. Visit for details on the organ and conference registration.

Watch and discover more about the organ in an interview with Lenora McCroskey

Watch an interview with organ maker Hellmuth Wolff

(Video requires the free Flash Player and is closed captioned for the hearing impaired)

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Mariachi camp


(Photos by Jonathan Reynolds)

About 30 aspiring mariachi players from middle and high schools in Arlington, Garland and Grand Prairie attended the College of Music's first-ever summer mariachi camp in August.

Not only did the campers learn from UNT students how to enhance their singing and improve their playing of trumpet, violin, guitarrón and vihuela (a guitar-like instrument), they also got a taste of university life by touring campus and meeting with students.

Donna Emmanuel, associate professor of music, coordinated the camp, which was funded by the Office of Equity and Diversity. UNT started its first student mariachi ensemble, Mariachi Aguilas, in 2003 and offered its first mariachi class the next year.

Watch video of Mariachi Camp

(Video requires the free Flash Player and is closed captioned for the hearing impaired)

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One Book, One Community


(Photo by Jonathan Reynolds)

Strong academics are a hallmark of a UNT education, and this year's new freshmen got straight to the books — even before classes started.

During the summer, each new freshman was expected to read Barbara Kingsolver's The Bean Trees — which focuses on community, economic injustice and cultural differences — as part of the university's new One Book, One Community reading program. On Aug. 20, hundreds of new freshmen participated in small group discussions about the book led by faculty in seminar style.

The discussions were the first event of the One Book program, which will sponsor an array of activities throughout the year designed to use literature as a way to explore a common theme through different disciplines. This year's theme is "American Identity in an Age of Immigration: Beyond the Melting Pot."

The One Book, One Community program will help ensure all UNT students have a shared academic experience. And for new students, the program is a key component of the comprehensive first-year experience the university provides to engage new students in campus life.

Several speakers are visiting campus as part of the One Book program. The Department of English's annual Visiting Writer series will include a poet and an author who write about immigration. Li-Young Lee, the visiting writer on Oct. 8, is a native of Indonesia who came to the United States at age 7 with his Chinese parents. Lee writes about his personal experience as an immigrant in his poetry. Stuart Dybek, the visiting writer on March 26, is the son of Polish immigrants who settled in Chicago. He explores issues of community identity and displacement in his fiction.

On Oct. 9, students from the UNT Honors College and students from Fort Worth schools will meet together for dinner and a program on The Bean Trees. The Fort Worth students are receiving assistance through the "I Have a Dream" Foundation, which provides academic enrichment, mentoring and tutoring to selected students from low-income households from elementary school until the students graduate from high school.    

In addition, UNT has scheduled a conference on immigration March 12. The conference will feature panel and poster presentations and an evening debate on immigration policy.

For more information about the UNT One Book, One Community program, go to

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