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Rieg, Sue-300.jpgNote: Sue Rieg, faculty member and chair in the Professional Studies in Education Department, is serving as chair of this year's University Family Campaign, which invites faculty and staff members to financially support IUP.


You may be asking yourself, "Why should I make a contribution to IUP through the University Family Campaign?  After all, I work here...isn't that enough?" 


Unfortunately, it isn't.  


I see, and I'm sure you do, too, how students in my classes need support, and I see how they benefit from scholarships that come from private gifts. I was moved enough by what one of my own teachers did for me to find inspiration to start in his memory a scholarship fund in the Foundation for IUP. Very soon, that fund will supply scholarship awards to Education majors.


The fund didn't start with one big gift. I started the scholarship by making small gifts to the fund myself and seeking small gifts from friends and family. From that experience, I learned that it takes participation from many and not necessarily large donations, to make that difference--although large donations are always welcome! It's not unlike voting--we all know that every vote counts in an election. A gift is an endorsement that illustrates we believe in what we do. Your gift can be designated to whatever cause inspires you.  As chair of this year's campaign, I believe in the power of what our private gifts can do.


In case you think your participation doesn't count, I want to share with you the following e-mail message, sent to our Annual Giving Office from a student who missed the chance to stop by the HUB on Tuition Freedom Day to write out a thank-you card to a donor. She asked that her message be sent to those who had contributed to IUP:


"I want to thank you for all of your contributions and your hearts of gold. I am a mother of three and decided to go back to school to enrich my family life and to show my children that anything is possible. It is cases like these that your generous contributions help to fund. I appreciate your kindness and hope that many others will strive to be just like you."


Please consider making your gift to the campaign today. Together we can, and will, make a difference in the lives of IUP students.


See this video to learn more about the scholarship Sue Rieg established. 


Foreign Film Festival Brings Reel World to Indiana

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DSC_0009_unityDay_260px.jpgThe Spring semester Foreign Film and Music Festival, starting this Sunday, February 19, is the whole package.

Not only does the series, presented by the IUP Office of International Education, show great films from all over the world, it also features musicians from all over the world.

And it's all free!

Screenings are every other Sunday night, with each film shown twice, at 5:30 and 8:00 p.m., in McVitty Auditorium, Sprowls Hall. All films are in native languages with English subtitles. The series is open to the public.

The series begins with the guitar and vocal duo of Pengfei Yi and Yuxiang Qiu, students from China, performing in conjunction with the screening of I Bring What I Love, a portrait of Senegalese pop sensation Youssou N'Dour, this Sunday. 

Kittiphong "Mu" Praphan, a student from Thailand, will play guitar for the Argentinian movie The Paranoids on March 4. Mu (short for "music," he notes) is well known on campus, having played at the 2011 Foreign Film and Music Series, International Lunch Hour, and other community events.

Dr. Carl Rahkonen, IUP music librarian and professor of music, known throughout the region for his talent on the violin, will be the guest artist on March 18, in conjunction with the showing of the Irish movie Kisses.

The April 1 screening of the Chinese movie Last Train Home will feature Si Lu Jia, a student from China, performing on the erhu, a traditional Chinese two-stringed instrument.

The showing of the Italian movie Mid-August Lunch on April 15 will feature Faisal Jousari, a student from Saudi Arabia, who will sing and play the lute. 

The series ends on a Terribly Happy note on April 29, featuring student John Grant along with the screening of this Danish noir flick. Grant is a 30-year performer who sings and plays banjo and guitar. 

It's a great two for one evening. Bring the popcorn.

Punxsutawney: Even Bigger Than Phil

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Academy of Culinary Arts Ice Sculpture 32105D90PF_260px.jpgWill he or won't he? It's a question on everyone's mind on February 2.

We're talking, of course, about Punxsutawney Phil, the world's most famous groundhog, and whether he'll see his shadow at dawn on Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney.

With all the fun around Groundhog Day, Phil has put Punxsutawney on the map.

But, there's a lot more to Punxsutawney than Phil.

IUP Punxsutawney, a residential first-year campus with 350 students, will celebrate its 50th birthday this summer. The new $19 million Living-Learning Center houses the academic programs, dining facilities, book store, and fitness facility.

Punxsutawney also is home to IUP's Academy of Culinary of Arts, where about 100 students learn all facets of the culinary arts, including a specialized baking and pastry program, from world-renowned chefs. Our grads go on to internships at five-star restaurants and resorts and are in demand from hospitality providers throughout the country. 

The Fairman Centre is also new, the result of a $1.9 million gift from the Fairman family of Jefferson County and more than $2.4 million in grants and contributions from federal, state, and local agencies. The center, located in the heart of downtown, has allowed for expansion of  culinary classes; residential space for students; and on the first floor, upscale retail facilities.

The campus is committed to service to the Punxsutawney community. Students and faculty regularly volunteer with Rotary International of Punxsutawney; Big Brothers and Sisters; and  the Salvation Army and Marine Corps Toys for Tots program. The commitment is mutual: The Punxsutawney Area College Trust is a longtime supporter of IUP, with gifts from members, including the Fairman family and Elaine Light, which have been critical to the continued success and recent new growth of IUP Punxsutawney.

But don't get us wrong -- we love Groundhog Day. Each year, hundreds of IUP students come out for the festivities, which include students in the academy's Ice Carving Club showcasing their skills in the square. On Wednesday, the academy hosted the annual Groundhog Day Chili and Hot Wing Cook-Off. 

Can't make it to Punxsutawney on Thursday? Celebrate at home by making a batch of groundhog cookies -- a special recipe from Light and her husband, Sam, former president of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club. Don't forget to use your groundhog cookie cutters,  available from the Punxsutawney Phil's Official Souvenir Shop.

Whether you see your shadow or not, come out and celebrate. You'll certainly see more to enjoy in this community than just its world-renowned weather forecaster.

Six O'Clock SeriesBuildings rise and fall, people come and go, but IUP's Six O'Clock Series goes on.

Even after 36 years, this icon of ideas continues to bring interesting and thought-provoking programs to the community.

Every semester, students have come to expect a presentation that is sometimes academic, sometimes purely entertaining, but always interesting and relevant, on Monday evenings at 6:00--at the Hadley Union Building Ohio Room in recent years.

According to our Student Affairs area, it's almost unprecedented to have a program continue for three decades and still be successful.

So, what's the key?

"For one thing, faculty truly believe in the programs and encourage students to attend," Rick Kutz, Center for Student Life staff member and current series coordinator, said. "We also try to respond to current events and mix outside experts with IUP presenters. The quality of the presenters are a draw for students and members of the community.

"It's a part of the institutional memory and culture here. We probably have students here whose parents remember going to the Six O'Clock Series programs."

Intriguing. So, we decided to go right to the source, Sherry Kuckuck, a 33-year member of the Student Affairs Division (now retired).

"I got the idea for the program at a conference in 1975," Dr. Kuckuck said. "I told Ron Thomas, then dean of men, 'Well, let's try it and see how it goes.' So, we started the program in February 1976."

Obviously, it went well. She directed the program for all but two of her years at IUP, and it was clearly a labor of love.

So, how did Dr. Kuckuck set the stage for its success?

"We chose topics that were relevant and important, and I got the best faculty speakers possible. The faculty knew that the presentations were going to be of high quality, because of of the presenters, and they recommended it to students and supported it. I never had a faculty member tell me no when I asked them to present.

"I also constantly invited people to submit program ideas. We'd get our suggested topics, put them on index cards, and match the topic cards to dates on the bulletin board with Scotch tape.

"My philosophy, in directing the program, was that we were responsible not only for helping students to learn to make a living, but to learn to make a life," she said.

Six O'Clock Series poster from 2000Harrison Wick, Special Collections librarian and university archivist, recently archived the Six O'Clock Series files and information. He shared several of the older posters with us.

"The first program for which we have documentation is from February 7, 1977, when Dr. John Merryman presented a values clarification workshop," Wick said. He also noted a program titled "All in the Family: People and Alcohol," presented by Robert Witchel, professor of counseling.

This semester, the series begins Monday, January 30, with Burrell Brown, a professor of management and labor management at California University of Pennsylvania, for the Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Program and Black History Month Kickoff.

His program will be followed each Monday by 10 presentations by a number of IUP faculty and staff members and external speakers:

  • "A Woman's History of IUP," Theresa McDevitt, IUP Libraries
  • "Navajo Nation," Melanie Hildebrandt, Sociology, and students
  • "You Are Living in Appalachia," Jim Dougherty, Sociology
  • "Financial Literacy," Patricia McCarthy, Financial Aid
  • "College Scams and Identity Theft," Eric Rayko, PNC Bank
  • "Punished: Policing the Lives of Black and Latino Boys," Victor Rios
  • "Bullying: Making a Difference for All," Kelly Champion, Peaceful Families
  • "Autism: A Multidisciplinary Perspective," College of Education faculty
  • "Healing in Native American Culture," Pat Star Dancer Selinger, Thunder Mountain LenapĂ© Nation
  • "Accidential Icon: The Real Gidget Story," Kathy Zuckerman

All of the programs are free and open to the community. If you've not taken the time to come over for a Six O'Clock Series program, clear some time on a Monday evening.

It's an IUP tradition. Be part of it.

Welcome, Dr. Driscoll, IUP's Next President

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Michael Driscoll, IUP's next president

It's official.

Michael A. Driscoll, who currently serves as provost and executive vice chancellor of the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA), was selected January 19, 2012, by the Pennsylvania State System Board of Governors to serve as the next president of IUP.

Dr. Driscoll will begin his work at IUP on July 1.

We had a chance to meet Dr. Driscoll in November. If you're keeping track of candidates by the order in which they visited, he was the second (a.k.a. "the guy from Alaska").

He has an outstanding record of success in all areas, including the creation of the strategic plan at UAA and creation of the university's College of Health. He was part of a team that helped to secure UAA's largest corporate gift, $15 million from ConocoPhillips to name the university's new integrated science building and establish an arctic science and engineering endowment.

Before his work at UAA, he was at Portland State University for 18 years, last serving as vice provost for academic personnel and budget. He has had numerous works published in academic journals including the Journal of Parallel and Distributed Computing and the International Journal on Computers and Electronics in Agriculture.

UAA seems to have many similaries to IUP. It's a bit bigger, with about 16,000 students on its main campus and 5,000 more at community campuses in several other areas. Like IUP, it is part of a university system.

His background is in electrical engineering. He earned his bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in that field from Michigan State University, but he's also kind of a renaissance man.

In his biography, he admits to an interest in naval history and "an addiction to crossword puzzles." He also says he enjoys music and theater (he is REALLY in the right place, with IUP's outstanding music and theater productions) and nice dinners in quiet restaurants (again, many from which to choose in Indiana County).

Congratulations to Dr. Driscoll. We truly look forward to having him join us as our new president. Thanks and congratulations are also in order for the IUP Presidential Search Committee and its chair, trustee Susan Delaney. There have been many hours spent in this process, and it wasn't an easy task.

We will continue to have more on the presidential transition on the IUP website and in IUP Daily, the employee e-mail newsletter, as more information becomes available. Keep watching. He's also been in the news already--check out the following coverage:

And, keep watching local eateries come July. Chances are you might see IUP's new president and his wife, Becky, enjoying one of Indiana County's great restaurants.

An "Around the Oak Grove" Top Ten

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We're about four months into our blog "experiment" here at Around the Oak Grove, and frankly, here at IUP's Office of Communications, we're ready to drop the "experiment" label. We've found this blog a great place to bring you stories that you wouldn't see elsewhere, and we've been very pleased with the attention we've been able to bring to them.

And now--time for a break. We'll be back on January 4, but until then, here's a top ten list of some of our favorite stories from our first four months.

See you next year!

Hair for a Month, Impact Here Forever

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man of movember Mike Stough_260px.jpgIUP's Greek fraternities raised $1,500 for the national Movember project, which promotes awareness of men's health issues, especially prostate and testicular cancers.

No, that wasn't a typo.

"Movember," a.k.a. November, is named to reflect both the month and the activity. During November, men at IUP were encouraged to grow a mustache (or "mo") in support of the project and men's health.

Some 30 IUP men, most in fraternities, grew mustaches and participated in a "pack the house" event for the November 14, 2011, men's basketball game, staged a bowling tournament, and held several other fund-raising events throughout the month, plus the Movember Gala early in December.

There were prizes--for teams and for individuals--including the "Man of Movember" award, won by Mike Stough from Phi Kappa Tau fraternity.

A very nice way to end the semester.

English Class Project Marks World AIDS Day

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Veronica Watson's Topics in English class has designed a public humanities project to coincide with World AIDS Day.

Human AIDS ribbon in Oak Grove in 2005"The students have done everything from conceptualize the project to arrange all the logistics to bring it to the world, to all of the publicity and media you might see around it," she told me.

And, not only has this involved posters, fliers, other publicity materials (including a Facebook page), students have worked to collect poetry, memoirs, and photography to do a "story trail" in the Oak Grove. They will be installing the pieces this afternoon in the Oak Grove, and the story trail will be up through December 1.

Tonight from 4:00 to 7:00 in Folger Hall, the group will stage an awareness game called "Who's on Fire." On November 29, it will show the award-winning film Philadelphia at 5:30 p.m. in the Crimson Event Center in Folger Hall. After the film, people will be invited to offer personal testimonies. Information about AIDS also will be available.

My colleagues and I agree that one of the best things about working at a university is seeing the passion and commitment that our students have for important causes. Watching them take what they've learned in the classroom--and seeing how well our faculty members encourage them to take classroom experiences into real-life projects--makes me even more proud to be part of this university community.

P.S. Other AIDS awareness events on campus include the World AIDS Day Awareness Event on December 1 in the Ohio Room of the Hadley Union Building, sponsored by the IUP Office of Health Awareness and the African American Cultural Center. The event opens with an open mic session at 7:00 p.m. and continues with a presentation at 8:00 p.m. with Dr. Linda Frank, associate professor in the Department of Infectious Diseases at the University of Pittsburgh, who will provide an update on HIV. Dr. Frank also is the Principal Investigator and Executive Director of the Pennsylvania-MidAtlatnic AIDS Education and Training Center.

There also will be information tables in Stapleton Library November 29 and November 30 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. offering more information about AIDS.




Subscribe to Around the Oak Grove by E-Mail

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Our Communications Office experiment has been running for little over two months now, and we've been pleased with the response we've received thus far.

To make it easier to keep up with Around the Oak Grove, we are now offering e-mail subscriptions. Just follow the "Subscribe to Around the Oak Grove by E-mail" link at the bottom of the rightmost column on this page, and you'll get a signup form.

Of course, you can still subscribe to Around the Oak Grove using Google Reader or any other RSS reader. We'll also be including regular links to our posts in IUP Daily.

Celebrating Native American Heritage

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NativeAmerican_260px.jpgThere's a beautiful photograph in the president's office at IUP, taken by retired Communications Media professor Richard Lamberski.

The photo, titled "We Have Survived," is of a dance at the 2009 Tipton Powwow.

On November 12, it will be formally presented to IUP by Clifton Pembleton, chair of the IUP Native American Awareness Council, as a "cultural trust to the president of IUP with grateful appreciation from the IUP Native American Awareness Council."

The presentation begins the fifth annual celebration of American Indian Heritage Month on campus, scheduled from noon to 5:00 p.m. in the Hadley Union Building Delaware Room. It's free and open to the community and will feature a variety of performers, including Mathew White Eagle Clair, Bill Crouse, Drums of Native Sisters and Michael Jacobs.

Anyone who has had a longtime affiliation with IUP knows Clifton Pembleton and his wife, Sandy, who both recently retired from IUP, and how active they have been with the council and the work of creating more awareness about Native American culture.

Clif and Sandy are joined by several IUP faculty members on the Native American Awareness Council: Sarah Neusius, Anthropology, vice chair; Holly Boda-Sutton, Theater and Dance; James Dougherty and Melanie Hildebrandt, Sociology; Robert Millward and Monte Tidwell, Professional Studies in Education; Theresa Smith, Religious Studies; student Germaine McArdle (Oglala, Lakota Sioux); and Jennifer Soliday, Dan Mock, and Kinorea Tigris (Cherokee, Creek, Oglala, Lakota and Sioux).

IUP's celebration of Native American Awareness Month came after Ms. Soliday, then an undergraduate, wrote to the IUP president, "I feel that it would be in the university's best interest to demonstrate IUP's sensitivity to American Indian culture and formally recognize this November, and every November, as American Indian Heritage Month."

The president agreed, as did the IUP Council of Trustees. Talk about a great legacy and how one voice can truly make a difference.

Five years later, not only is the event gaining in popularity, but the NAAC is continuing its efforts to build awareness about Native American culture and to enhance and build Native American programs at IUP, including exchanges and educational events.

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