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UNT Insider | March 2010 Issue

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President's Note

Interim President, Phil Diebel.

Interim President
Phil Diebel

Dear Alum,

It is a privilege and an honor to serve as UNTís interim president. After spending 26 years at the university as a senior administrator, I have a deep loyalty to and pride in UNT. I have watched the university evolve under the guidance of different leaders who helped UNT move forward. Dr. Bataille led UNT during a time of incredible progress, and it is my goal to continue that momentum.

During my brief tenure at the helm, I will work hard to provide steady leadership so UNT can remain focused on fulfilling its goals. These goals include moving closer to tier one status, enhancing the quality of our academic programs, strengthening our athletics presence and building our reputation so every UNT degree grows in value.

Because the search for UNTís next permanent president will take some time, the UNT System Board of Regents and Chancellor Lee Jackson this spring will appoint a longer-term interim academic president with proven experience in leading a major research university to serve for the 2010-11 school year. The search for a permanent president will begin with Chancellor Jackson working with UNT constituent groups to identify the qualities the next president should possess.

All of us as UNT community members, including Chancellor Jackson and the regents, are committed to UNTís continued success. Finding leaders who will ensure UNT takes its rightful place among our nationís great universities is a top priority, and I will keep you informed about the search process through UNT Insider.

UNT's success lies in being student-centered, a mission that has sustained us through 120 years. Each one of us can be proud of the university's legacy and hopeful about our future. I thank you for the expressions of support I have received. My wife, Polly, and I hope to see you at an event this spring, and I look forward to reconnecting with you each month.

Best regards,
Phil Diebel
Interim President


Rendering of Business Leadership Building

2010 Sun Belt Conference champions

2010 Sun Belt Conference Tournament champions

As the 2010 Sun Belt Conference Tournament Champions, the Mean Green menís basketball team earned its berth as a 15th seed in the NCAA Tournament, playing Kansas State in the first round. It was the second time the Mean Green earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament in the last four seasons and the third time in the programís history. The team also won the Sun Belt West Division in addition to setting a school record with 24 victories in one season. Junior George Odufuwa, who ranks 12th in the NCAA in rebounding, was named to the All-Sun Belt second team. Senior Eric Tramiel and juniors Josh White and Tristan Thompson were named to the All-Sun Belt third team. Tramiel was named the conference tournamentís Most Outstanding Player. And while the Mean Green didnít beat Kansas State on the court, they have outperformed them in the classroom, according to Insider Higher Edís Academic Performance Tournament, an NCAA bracket based on NCAA Academic Progress Rates.

Moving Forward: Autism, immigrant research part of UNT's multidisciplinary focus

UNT's research now includes a new laboratory to help enhance the math, reading and social skills of children with autism spectrum disorders and a new immigrant research center to examine the experiences of the fast-growing Hispanic and other populations around the world. Through the new Technology and Applied Research in Autism Laboratory in the College of Information, researchers will evaluate technology products and develop curricula that can help kindergarteners through sixth-graders with ASDs improve their vocabulary and listening and social skills. The newly launched Immigrant Research and Policy Center is designed to serve as a nationally recognized source and repository of immigrant-related research.

Ivonne Pereira

Photography professor given access to the world's seed vault

College of Visual Arts and Design photography professor Dornith Doherty traveled to a remote Norwegian island earlier this month to photograph the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, which secures the worldís seed collections from natural disaster or catastrophe. Dubbed the "Doomsday Vault" by media, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault is built into a frozen mountainside near the North Pole, where the Arctic permafrost can keep the seeds cold and safe. The vault is opened only a few times a year and Doherty was one of a very few allowed in. One of the first faculty fellows for UNT's Institute for the Advancement of the Arts, Doherty took documentary-style photographs of the vault as part of her fellowship. Her project, Archiving Eden, involves using on-site X-ray machines to photograph seeds and cloned plants from storage vaults.

Rendering of Business Leadership Building

Brian Waters

Former Mean Green star named NFL Man of the Year

Former Mean Green football player and current Kansas City Chief Brian Waters was named the 2009 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year during this year's Super Bowl. The award recognizes Waters' contributions off and on the field. In 2005, he founded the Brian Waters 54 Foundation, which awards scholarships to low-income students, provides school supplies and fulfills other needs in Kansas City, Dallas, Sulphur Springs and his hometown, Waxahachie. Waters is a four-time Pro Bowl left guard in the NFL and made the first team all-conference at UNT.

Jincheng Du

UNT welcomes first student in prestigious Terry Scholars program

UNT became part of the Terry Scholars program, Texasí largest private scholarship program, in December, as part of the university's commitment to enrolling and graduating the state's top students. Krystal CastaŮeda, a first-generation college student, is UNT's first Terry Scholar. She is pursuing an M.B.A. and plans to earn a doctoral degree. The first full class of 16 scholars will be selected this spring and will start classes in the fall. The program, offered by the Terry Foundation, awards scholarships to students based on three criteria: leadership potential and character, scholastic record and ability, and financial need.

Jincheng Du

Faculty Focus: Jung Hwan Oh

Jung Hwan Oh, assistant professor of computer science and engineering, is developing software to improve colonoscopies. The exams are used to detect colon cancer, the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., afflicting more than 130,000 people each year. Dr. Oh is working in collaboration with researchers at the world-renowned Mayo Clinic and at Iowa State University. They previously developed a prototype that provides a recording of the procedure plus a live image, now in use in some hospitals, such as the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Dr. Ohís research is funded by more than $450,000 in grants, including a new $184,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Eagle Ambassador giving a tour

UNT Traditions: Campus tours

You can see what makes UNT a standout either in person or online through our campus tours. The new UNT one-of-a-kind virtual tour gives you an interactive look at university life, from our academic success to our top-notch faculty to our vibrant campus life. The in-person campus tours, conducted by Eagle Ambassadors who provide a firsthand perspective of what makes UNT a great university, allows visitors to see campus highlights in small groups to keep the tours intimate and personalized. Last year, Eagle Ambassadors hosted a record 18,846 visitors to our campus and conducted nearly 1,700 tours. To schedule a tour, visit

Emerald Eagle Scholars in South America

Featured Link: UNT Research

Read about how UNT is progressing as an emerging research university with an eye to one day reach tier one status in UNT Research, an annual publication that focuses on the research and creative endeavors of faculty and students. You also can learn about how researchers are helping the U.S. Air Force keep its aging aircraft "flight-worthy" and using simulation to forecast disease outbreaks.

North Texas Alumni logo

UNT Alumni Association

Each spring, the UNT Alumni Association celebrates the achievements of alumni and alumni-in-the-making. The annual Alumni Awards Dinner recognizes UNTís successful alumni and friends with the Distinguished Alumna/Alumnus and Honorary Alumna/Alumnus awards. You can celebrate their achievements by attending the Alumni Awards Dinner at 6:30 p.m. April 16 at the Gateway Center ballroom. The Alumni Association's Ring Presentation Ceremony honors students who have completed 60 or more hours and are on their way to earning a UNT degree. This year's ceremony will begin at 6:30 p.m. April 22 at the Gateway Center. For more information about attending these events, visit or contact the alumni association at or at 940-565-2834 or 800-868-1153.

March 2010

At a Glance

2010 Sun Belt Conference Tournament champions

Moving Forward:
Autism, immigrant research part of UNT's multidisciplinary focus

Photography professor given access to the world's seed vault

UNT welcomes first student in prestigious Terry Scholar program

Faculty Focus:
Jung Hwan Oh

UNT Traditions:
Campus tours

Featured Link:
UNT Research

UNT Alumni Association


Kris Chesky, director of UNT's Texas Center for Music and Medicine, earned the 2010 Safe-in-Sound Excellence in Hearing Loss Prevention Award.

UNT earned its second consecutive Tree Campus USA honor from the Arbor Day Foundation.

Masterís student Kristin Alder is one of 20 college students chosen to participate in the Commission on the Status of Women practicum at the United Nations headquarters.

Don't Forget!

Come to Denton April 23-25 to hear the six-time Grammy-nominated One OíClock Lab Band, all of the UNT jazz bands, the mariachi band, the steel drum band and more perform on the UNT Showcase Stage at the 30th annual Denton Arts & Jazz Festival.

UNT is urging its community members to participate in the U.S. Census survey, which influences how federal money is allocated and the number of U.S. House of Representatives seats for a community. Forms are being mailed this month. Fill out and return the one-page questionnaire so you can be counted.

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