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UNT Insider | May 2008 Issue

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President's Note

President Gretchen M. Bataille

Dear Alum,

At the May commencement ceremonies, I was proud to see nearly 3,000 new graduates join your ranks as alumni. I always enjoy the end of an academic year because it's often the time when many of our students are recognized with scholarships, win contests and earn other recognition. And this spring was no different.

For the third year in a row, more UNT students received Goldwater recognition than students at any other Texas university. Two UNT students Vinay Ramasesh and Samuel Mark Thompson were named 2008 Barry M. Goldwater Scholars, while Korok Chatterjee received honorable mention status. All three are graduates of the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science. Goldwater scholarships are considered to be among the most prestigious in the country awarded to students planning careers in mathematics, science and engineering.

Three recent graduates also received a total of $69,000 in Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarships for study abroad during the 2008-09 academic year. Alexis Hall, who received her bachelor's degree in French in May 2007; Ryan Schuette, who received his bachelor's degree in international studies this past August; and Graham Sowa, an anthropology major who graduated this month, each competed successfully for $23,000 scholarships for full academic years at universities in other countries.

These are certainly two of the more prestigious scholarships our students earn each year, but many others earned impressive scholarships and grants to continue their studies at universities all across the nation. For example, Bianca Mercado, who earned a UNT master's degree in history, received a five-year doctoral fellowship from Yale University that will pay all tuition and fees as well as an annual $25,000 stipend while she continues to research Chicana and Chicano history.

I truly am impressed by the many outstanding UNT students who are helping our university earn more and more national and international prominence. Learn more about this year's students who were recognized in national scholarship competitions.

As alumni, I know you already are out in the world making a difference. I invite you to write to me at president@unt.edu to share your successes and tell me how your UNT experience has made the difference.

With green pride,
Gretchen M. Bataille


Pamela Padilla Rada Mihalcea

Moving Forward: UNT continues to make strides in its research goals
I am proud to tell you that the National Science Foundation has given CAREER awards which are among its most prestigious awards for young investigators to Rada Mihalcea, assistant professor of computer science and engineering, and Pamela Padilla, assistant professor of biology. Dr. Mihalcea's five-year $500,000 grant will support her research in the semantic interpretation of text for language-processing applications, while Dr. Padilla will use her five-year $640,000 award to continue her studies of oxygen deprivation in Caenorhabditis elegans, or nematodes. This award program supports early career development activities of teacher-scholars who effectively integrate research and education within the context of the mission of their organization. Dr. Mihalcea and Dr. Padilla join Angela Wilson and Mohammad Omary, associate professors of chemistry, as UNT winners of this prestigious award. I applaud their efforts and the good work they are doing for UNT.

Costas Tsatsoulis

New College of Engineering dean
I am pleased to tell you that Costas Tsatsoulis, chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Kansas and a highly accomplished researcher, accepted a position as dean of our College of Engineering. The appointment is effective Aug. 1. At the University of Kansas, Dr. Tsatsoulis served as assistant professor from 1988 to 1993, associate professor from 1993 to 1999 and professor from 1999 to the present. He became interim chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in August 2003 and was named permanent chair in January 2004. I am certain he will help guide our College of Engineering to even greater success.

Rafes Urban Astronomy Center

New amphitheater ready for stargazing
We've all heard that the stars at night are big and bright in Texas. And this summer, I hope you will plan to join us at the Rafes Urban Astronomy Center, where we recently added an outdoor amphitheater with about 50 seats. The expansion will help the center with its community outreach efforts. The amphitheater, which will be dedicated this fall, was funded in part by a $25,000 donation from the M.R. and Evelyn Hudson Foundation of Keller. I hope you will plan to visit the center on the first Saturday of each month to attend free, public star parties.

Jack Rozdilsky

Faculty Focus: Jack Rozdilsky
Jack Rozdilsky, assistant professor of public administration, recently began a long-term study of the small town of Greensburg, Kan., which was devastated May 4, 2007, by a tornado with wind speeds of more than 200 miles per hour and an estimated 1.7 miles in width. Dr. Rozdilsky says Greensburg's plan to rebuild as a green town may make it a model for other communities recovering from disasters. I applaud Dr. Rozdilsky's interest in this area.

Robert B. Toulouse

UNT Traditions: Toulouse School of Graduate Studies
Earlier this month, we celebrated the 90th birthday of Robert B. Toulouse, longtime graduate dean and namesake of the Toulouse School of Graduate Studies. Dr. Toulouse, who joined the university in 1948 as a professor in the College of Education, served as graduate dean from 1954 to 1982 and was provost and vice president of academic affairs from 1982 to 1985. Toulouse also served as interim provost and vice president of academic affairs during the 1989-90 academic year and is now Provost Emeritus. During his tenure as graduate dean, he helped establish most of the graduate programs currently authorized at our university, and his leadership helped make UNT one of the three largest graduate institutions in the state.

Gabriel Barboza and Jose Sauceda

Featured Link: Green Eyed Monster
Alums Gabriel Barboza and Jose Sauceda, who met while pursuing UNT radio, television and film degrees, produced and marketed Green Eyed Monster, a horror-mystery flick that lets viewers solve the mystery and compete for prizes totaling $10,000. The project is based on Barboza's screenplay that incorporates urban legends and Hispanic folklore while retelling a well-known South Texas myth about friends who gather at an abandoned ranch to search for buried money. The two had already collaborated on several projects as students before launching this production.

North Texas Exes

Exes invite you to a networking happy hour
The North Texas Exes Alumni Association invites you to a networking happy hour at 6:30 p.m. June 12 at the Pour House, 209 W. 5th Street in Fort Worth. Please plan to join the association for food, fun and networking. I also encourage you to join the UNT Alumni Network at www.untalumni.net. This new online social network helps you find classmates, identify alumni who share your hobbies, establish new business contacts and more. For more information, contact the association at alumni@unt.edu or 940-565-2834.

May 2008

At a Glance

Moving Forward:
UNT continues to make strides in its research goals

New College of Engineering dean

New amphitheater ready for stargazing

Faculty Focus:
Jack Rozdilsky

UNT Traditions:
Toulouse School of Graduate Studies

Featured Link:
Green Eyed Monster

Exes invite you to a networking happy hour

Don't Forget!

Visit www.mean
and mark your calendars now for football season.

About UNT Insider

The UNT Insider,
a monthly
e-newsletter, connects UNT alumni and others to the university by letting you hear directly from President Gretchen M. Bataille.

The UNT Insider is brought to you by the Office of the President in conjunction with the Division of University Relations, Communications and Marketing. Please send any comments or suggestions to president@unt.edu.