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ScholarshipFundingStudentDebt.jpgAs a contributor to IUP Magazine, the publication we send to more than 100,000 alumni and friends, I wrote a story for the summer edition about student loan debt. I was surprised to learn while conducting the research for it that the average loan debt of an IUP graduate exceeds that of a private college or university graduate.

"How could that be?" I wondered, knowing that IUP is a state-owned school, and its cost is considerably lower.

In the magazine story, Patti McCarthy, IUP's director of Financial Aid, summed it up fairly and squarely: Unlike private schools, "We don't have a pot of money to automatically award scholarships upon admission to students who have a certain grade point average and SAT score." In other words, we don't have a centralized stash of private funding to defray our tuition costs.

As of February 2012, that has changed. IUP has established the Academic Achievement Scholarship Fund. The fund is meant to give our undergraduate admissions staff the ability to recruit the most qualified students with $1,000 and $2,000 awards and keep them here with renewable funding that is dependent on academic performance. By seeking gifts for this effort, IUP also is taking a crack at defraying student loan debt, a problem that concerns young graduates across the country.

Each year, a chunk of my paycheck goes toward two or three IUP causes. Last year, I gave to the John A. Pidgeon Scholarship (my father established this fund to benefit IUP's swimming team) and the Allegheny Arboretum (to help with the upkeep of the trees in the Oak Grove I purchased in memory of my mother). This year, I plan to direct some of my payroll deduction to the new Academic Achievement Scholarship.

I hope when you are asked to give to IUP--either through a mailing from our Annual Giving Office or through the University Family Campaign--you'll consider what your gift can mean. It could help IUP recruit qualified students through the Academic Achievement Scholarship Fund, or you could direct your gift in numerous other ways that enhance the experience we offer our students.


This video, produced by grad student Kevin Kramer and provided by IUP-TV, says it all.

Every Saturday this month, IUP's basketball teams play at home in Kovalchick Complex. The spectacle of what surrounds the game is as much fun as watching our student athletes battle it out on the court. The best part is that much of what you see is orchestrated by students--the newly formed pep band, the cheerleaders, two dance troupes, the Crimson Crazies (the rambunctious group that sits in the front rows of the student section)--and it all adds up to a fun event. Even the activities organized by the Kovalchick staff involve students hired to operate the facility--things like Kissin' Cam (yes,that moment when you and your date might be encouraged to kiss on camera for a prize) and three-point shot competition.

So, on the eve of March Madness, when it's really the best time to watch basketball, head to Kovalchick Saturday night. The women's game starts at 5:30, and the men's game at 7:30.On February 11 we play Mercyhurst; February 18, Slippery Rock, and February 25, Gannon.  Students are admitted free with an I-Card, and other ticket prices vary, depending on seating.

Visit for scores, stats, standings, and more.

jackthomas3.jpgWhile the IUP community awaits the arrival of our new president, Michael Driscoll, it seems an opportune time to check in with Jack Thomas D'90, the newest university president in the IUP alumni ranks.

Thomas is the new president of Western Illinois University and is six months into his term. 

"My first year is going quite well in light of a very challenging economy," he told us.

His biggest obstacles, he noted, are those faced by presidents of many public universities: a decreased budget, declining state support, and deferred maintenance.

Thomas became president of WIU after serving as the university's provost, a position he took in 2008. Before joining WIU, Thomas served as senior vice provost for academic affairs and interim dean at Middle Tennessee State University.

His IUP degree is a Ph.D. in Literature and Criticism. 

Thomas offered the following advice to the IUP community as Driscoll's arrival draws near: 

"Approach his tenure with an open mind and give him all the support necessary for him to be successful as a university president. Give him an opportunity, and help him to learn the culture of IUP. Let him know that you are genuinely available to assist him. The community should champion transparency and openness on all issues that concern the new president."

Photo: Western Illinois University, Dr. Jack Thomas at his investiture as the university's 11th president.

Thumbnail image for kopchick_lab.widea.jpgJohn Kopchick '72, M'75 recently learned that Ohio University's Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine's newest endowed research chair would be named for him.

Kopchick, the Goll Eminent Scholar and Professor in Molecular and Cellular Biology at OU, is widely admired as an inventor of Somavert, a drug that treats acromegaly. Somavert has saved the lives of millions of people with this disorder, which can cause excessive growth of organs and bones and lead to premature death. It has also brought millions of dollars to Ohio University.

The new chair was established in recognition of Kopchick's extraordinary contributions to the medical field and the university. 

"This position is such an honor," he said. "The John J. Kopchick, Ph.D., Osteopathic Heritage Foundations Endowed Eminent Reseach Chair -- those words are very special. Thank you."

His stature notwithstanding, Kopchick's colleagues and students refer to him fondly as a down-to-earth friend and mentor who has a knack for building research teams, makes research fun, and is an inspiration. 

The new Kopchick Chair is funded by a $5 million endowment supported by the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation and Ohio University. It will be held first by a researcher recruited into the college's Department of Biomedical Sciences in 2016.

"I would hope whoever is the recipient would do their research with the same philosophy that I had, which is to do something that's going to change the world," Kopchick said. 

A recipient of IUP's Distinguished Alumni Award several years ago, Kopchick returned to campus in 2008 to receive an honorary doctoral degree and give the Commencement address.

See a story from the Athens (Ohio) News that explains the how the sale of partial royalty income rights of Somavert will help Ohio University.

Photo credit: Ohio University 


Scholarship Recognizes Professor Emeritus's Inspiration

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Faculty members inspire many things--success, fortitude, vision, and, sometimes, the desire to give back in return for those things. That's Bob Stouse's story.

Stilwell-Strouse.JPG A member of the Class of 1970, Strouse recently pledged his support to establish a scholarship fund in honor of Merle Stilwell, a retired professor. Strouse, of DuBois, has pledged a portion of the amount needed to establish the Merle Stilwell Scholarship for Mathematics fund. The charitable foundation associated with his employer, Illinois Tool Works, will match the balance.

The scholarship will be awarded to Mathematics or Mathematics Education majors. Preference will be given to those who demonstrate involvement in community service and who exhibit attributes of a well-rounded person.

If you would like to give to the Stilwell or another scholarship fund,
visit our Give a Gift page today.

Stilwell, a longtime faculty member, was granted emeritus status in 1991. He lives in Indiana.

"Merle went out of his way to help me," Strouse said. "No matter who you were, he took care of all the students. He really was the professor in the Math Department students could go to for help.

"I went from a very immature kid entering IUP to a very focused adult who launched a successful career," said Strouse, a member of the football squad that played in the 1968 Boardwalk Bowl.

Strouse dreamed up the idea of a scholarship after being contacted by IUP's Development staff.

"You know, alumni are contacted to donate to the Foundation for IUP to help the university. I thought about it, and my employer would match three dollars for every one dollar. I thought if I'm going to help IUP, why not do it this way. We can fund a scholarship to honor Merle. Merle helped students, and a scholarship is a great way to help students," he said.

Strouse invites fellow alumni who were inspired by Merle Stilwell to also contribute to the Stilwell Scholarship Fund.

Upon his graduation, Strouse became a mathematics teacher and then entered private industry. After retiring from Illinois Tool Works and settling in DuBois, he now is helping students at DuBois Business College. He also is among a group of Boardwalk Bowl alumni leading the charge to develop a scholarship that supports IUP's football team members.

It could be that Stilwell also inspired Strouse to lend his time as well as his treasure to worthy causes.

In the photo are Eleanor and Merle Stilwell and Bob and Susan Strouse. The photo was taken during the last football season at a pregame party.

Maureen McHugh.jpgAdolescent bullying, for good reason, is a hot topic, and one of IUP's professors is in the forefront of the discussion.

Maureen McHugh of the Psychology Department this week caught the attention of LiveScience. McHugh studies bullying, sexual harassment, and especially "slut-bashing," the practice of peers labeling other peers as dirty and promiscuous, oftentimes in the absence of any sexual activity at all on the part of the victim.

"Their peers know what kinds of words to use to hurt them," McHugh told LiveScience, adding that sexuality becomes an Achilles heel in the beginning of adolescence.

"It is serious, and not only in terms of something as devastating as suicide, but also people not doing their best in school to live up to their potential," McHugh said. "They don't apply themselves, or they skip school because they can't bear to be there. [Bullying] has a huge number of consequences for a lot of people."

See the full article.

McHugh serves as the associate editor of Sex Roles and teaches at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

wisnicki1.jpgUpdate, November 11: The BBC also featured this discovery, and the report can be seen on the BBC website. The Associated Press also filed a report, as did the New York Times.

The Google Alert I received in my in box yesterday morning made me say out loud, "Oh!" It was an article in the Washington Post about one of our own professors' hunt for special treasure.

Adrian Wisnicki, who joined IUP's faculty this fall, teaches British Literature in the English Department. His discovery and analysis of one of David Livingstone's journals led to the story, which appeared in the November 1 edition. See the story.

Wisnicki, who is the codirector of the Center for Digital Humanities and Culture at IUP, initially went in search of Livingstone's field diary for the insight it would provide on Central Africa's culture in 1871, and he found it with the help of an archivist at the David Livingstone Center in Scotland. Wisnicki worked with Library of Congress spectral imaging experts to decipher the makeshift journal fashioned out of old newspaper and ink made from berries, which Livingstone, who was low on supplies, was forced to use. Wisnicki found discrepancies between Livingstone's working journal--the tattered find from Scotland--and his ultimate published work.

The conclusion is that Livingstone may have chosen to bend the truth to hide a few details that, in hindsight, would have reflected badly on his pristine image, according to the article. The famous explorer, missionary, and physician published an account of a massacre that eventually led to the abolition of a certain slave market, but his diary tells a different account.

Not even after a hundred forty years can someone hide from a persistent person and spectral imaging. Facts are stubborn things, although Wisnicki is still analyzing the journal's contents.

Wisnicki and the colleagues who worked on the project have ensured the full text of the journal is available online, hosted at UCLA's library. See the David Livingstone Spectral Imaging Project.

Borrowed Babies, Revisited

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Home Economics House 1953.jpgI was delighted to receive this photo from Theresa McDevitt, a Libraries faculty member, a few weeks ago. She sent it as a homecoming greeting, but she also knows that in 1995 I wrote a story for IUP Magazine about the Home Management House.

The story was called "Borrowed Babies," and you can read it, thanks to an effort by the Libraries'  Special Collections and Archives Department. Harrison Wick and colleagues have made a decent effort to scan IUP publications of the past and make them accessible through

But, you probably chose to open this post because of its title, so let me explain. From the early 1910s to the 1960s, Home Economics majors at IUP had a semester-long immersion experience in Home Management House, which was located on a street that no long exists near Cogswell Hall. In addition to keeping the house in operation in the spirit of any modern-day domestic engineer, the students also cared for a baby lent to them by a nearby orphanage. Hence, the reference in the photo to Rodger--the baby who resided in Home Management House in fall, 1953 (Rodger says, "It's time for a change. Beat California"). After the story ran in the magazine, we received many letters to the editor from alumnae who had nothing but wonderful things to say about the experience, who wondered what had happened to the babies they cared for, and who wanted to share their memories with others. Still, isn't it difficult to believe?

Fast forward to 2011, and we all know things are quite different today. We no longer have a Home Economics Education major, per se, but instead several majors entailing Family and Child Studies and Family and Consumer Sciences Education, both housed in the Human Development and Environmental Studies Department. All you have to do is take a look at that website to know we focus on modern issues, employ modern techniques, and that we're a long way from Home Management House.

Eating Less in the Presence of Men

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thesalt-banner-4622.gifOver morning coffee, NPR listeners recently learned about eating habits that were discovered right here in Indiana, Pennsylvania. You can see the full story in The Salt, NPR's food blog, which describes research by two former students and two faculty members. It suggests the gender of your dining company can influence what you eat.

Molly Allen-O'Donnell '04, M'06, Marci Cottingham M'09, Kay Snyder, and Tom Nowak of the IUP Sociology Department collaborated on "Impact of Group Composition and Gender on Meals Purchased by College Students," which was published in September in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology.

The research shows that men and women both eat less when in the presence of men. Read or listen to NPR's coverage. UPDATE: ABC News also has covered the issue and has cited the research done by Allen-O'Donnell, Cottingham, Snyder, and Nowak.

Nowak and Snyder retired in the summer. Currently, Allen-O'Donnell, whose bachelor's degree is in Nutrition, is a social worker at Helpmates, Inc., in Ridgway, Pa. Cottingham is a graduate student at the University of Akron.

Celebrating the Constitution at IUP

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Constitution Day 92011D385.jpg
As part of the campus celebration of Constitution Day, Professor Joseph Mannard of the History Department dressed in Colonial garb for the public reading of the U.S. Constitution. Scores of students and faculty members lined up in front of Stapleton Library to read a portion of the Constitution. The Political Science Department and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences sponsored the day's events, which also included a presentation called "A Casual Conversation with the Framers of the U.S. Constitution," featuring four of the Constitution's authors--James Madison, Ben Franklin, Charles Pinckney, and Alexander Hamilton, portrayed by Mannard, David Chambers, Mac Fiddner, and Steven Jackson.

"The commemoration of Constitution Day provides an ideal opportunity to take a closer look at how our government is structured and what powers it does or doesn't have," said Gwen Torges of the Political Science Department. "In the past, these events have generated a surprising level of interest and discussion about just what the Founding Fathers were thinking and what they hoped to achieve in writing the Constitution."

Constitution Day commemorates the September 17, 1787, signing of the U.S. Constitution.

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