Rob Dunn, assistant professor of biology at NC State and author of Every Little Thing, wrote an essay for our Autumn 2009 issue of NC State magazine about the “thousands of species . . . found on an average, living human body.” The most fascinating thing about those thousands of species: “Until very recently,” he wrote, we didn’t even realize they were there. Now Dunn and his research team are taking a look at another group of species that can be easy to miss during walks in the woods: ants and other forest insects. As reported in The News & Observer yesterday:
To forecast how ants and other forest insects might respond to a warming world, Dunn and his colleagues have spent the past two years building a dozen open-top enclosures in a part of the Duke Forest, an expanse of hardwoods and pines in Orange County.
Debbie Yow (Photo courtesy of NC State News Services)
Chancellor Randy Woodson introduced Debbie Yow as NC State’s new athletics director (AD) during a press conference at Carter-Finley Stadium this afternoon. Yow has been the AD at the University of Maryland for the past 16 years and is the younger sister of former Wolfpack women’s basketball coach Kay Yow. She replaces Lee Fowler, who’ll step down as AD on June 30. Watch the press conference at WRAL.com.
Tim Peeler ’87 has a story on Yow today on GoPack.com. The university’s press release on the announcement follows:
Yow, 58, younger sister of the late Kay Yow who coached NC State women’s basketball for 34 years, comes to NC State after 16 years as director of athletics at the University of Maryland. Under Yow’s leadership, Maryland teams have won 20 national championships and consistently graduated student-athletes — with the upcoming Federal graduation rate report reflecting an all-time high of 80 percent.
As operations initiative director at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Brian Betts ’96, pictured here, leads efforts to introduce new rides, experiences and even new theme parks. We interviewed him for the summer issue of NC State magazine, and in addition to telling us about his job, he graciously shared some of his recommendations for NC State alumni planning trips to Walt Disney World Resort.
Stay “on property.” It’s the best way to immerse yourself in the full Disney experience. There are a lot of wonderful hotels within the resort, but Betts’ favorites are the two lodges, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, in the Magic Kingdom area, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, where you can wake up, open your curtains and stare a giraffe in the eye.
Don’t limit yourself to the Magic Kingdom. “I certainly think the Magic Kingdom is a can’t-miss, but usually I don’t have to recommend that to people,” Betts says. “That’s on their list anyway.” Betts encourages friends to see some of the less-iconic parks as well, particularly Disney’s Animal Kingdom. “You can go on safari, ride a runaway train on Expedition Everest, and see a Broadway-caliber show,” he says. “There aren’t many places on the planet that you can go and have all of those experiences, all in one day.”
Prioritize the rides. Not enough time to see and do everything? Betts always tells friends to make sure to make time for these special attractions. (And also to start planning a return visit!)
Soarin’ at Epcot. Betts’ verdict: A unique, popular ride that simulates a hang-gliding flight with a crowd-pleasing queue.
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and The Pirates League. Betts’ verdict: Great for little kids. “Even though it’s a premium product, we just hear from our guests that [the experience] was worth five times what [they] paid for it.”
During the Gregg Museum of Art & Design’s annual purchasing party tonight, Arts NC State will unveil its first purchases for the Lecce Collection. James Lecce, who was a professor of animal science at NC State for nearly 40 years, and his wife, Eileen, willed their estate (valued at more than $1 million) to NC State last year to create the James and Eileen Lecce Ethnic Art Endowment. It was the largest arts gift that NC State has received. We spoke with James Lecce last fall for a Q&A that appeared in the Autumn 2009 issue of NC State magazine. It’s reprinted below. We’ve also includes images provided by Arts NC State of some of the items in the Lecce Collection.
Woven Pig, Middle Sepik region of New Guinea, mid 20th century. Purchased from Farrow Fine Art Gallery, San Rafael, CA.(Image courtesy of Arts NC State)
A Bridge Between Art and Science
Former biology professor donates largest arts gift in NC State history.
James Lecce spent 39 years studying porcine husbandry in NC State’s Department of Animal Science. Just a few years before his retirement in 1994, he began creating wood, stone and clay sculptures. Now he and his wife, Eileen, have willed their estate, valued at more than $1 million, to NC State’s Gregg Museum of Art & Design to establish an ethnic art collection. It’s the largest arts gift NC State has ever received.
What led you to sculpting?
I was having heart problems. When I woke up after [bypass] surgery [in 1990], I said to myself, “If you’re ever going to do anything, now’s the time to do it.” So I just started sculpting. I had been interested in only science for my whole career. The whole point of science is to project your will on a set of circumstances, measure the results and determine what’s worth investigating. There is none of that in art. You can’t impose your will on a piece of wood. You have to allow the wood to tell you what’s inside, and it’s up to you to figure out how to get it out.
In the Summer issue of NC State magazine, we write about the NCSU Dance Company, a modern dance group that excels in national competitions even though the university doesn’t have a dance major. The issue’s cover image isn’t from a boxing match. It’s from “Elegie,” a piece that uses an audio clip from a Joe Louis/Max Schmeling bout. Below, we’ve posted five videos of performances by the group:
Close Your Eyes (choreography by Melissa Clapp and Lauren Grove, Music by Ludwig van Beethoven, “Allegro, ma non troppo” & ”Andante con moto” from Sonata No. 23 Appassionata, performed by Arthur Rubinstein)
Elegie (choreography by Robin Harris, music: excerpt from the Radio Broadcast of Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling, June 19, 1936, from Bill Clayton’s Primetime Boxing)
account, Kelley delves into the history of Jim Crow laws. She appeared recently on WUNC’sThe State of Things to talk about Right to Ride, which has been described as “one of those marvelous books that will forever change historians’ ideas about an incident they thought they understood completely. . . .” Kelley spoke with NC State magazine contributor Jill Watral about her research.
How did you come to develop an interest in this particular period of history?
I was always interested in what happened between the great movements toward change, and Reconstruction is one of the great time periods where we see lots of things happen. The traditional Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s is another time period when wonderful things happened for positive ends for African Americans. But as an undergrad [at the University of Virginia], I thought, “Well, OK, that’s nice, but what happened in between? Did those people just not care about their circumstances? Or, do we just not know what happened? Or, was it because they weren’t successful? Or, because we don’t remember?” It’s been sort of these fundamental questions that I’ve had in the back of my mind as a student going through school, and as I read more, I became more interested in the turn of the century and the Plessy [v. Ferguson] case.
The Constructed Facilitles Lab is probably one of the more interesting (if not well-known) labs on campus. At this Centennial Campus building, students and researchers test full-size building, bridge and road parts. Companies that need to know how well their new building, product or bridge design will withstand weather, traffic or even earthquakes come here. We wrote about the CFL in the summer issue of NC State magazine and talked to its director and the lab manager about putting parts through the ringer:
“We tend to overload the structure here so we can be confident in the designs,” says Greg Lucier ’04, ’06 MS, a doctoral student and lab manager at CFL. “In almost all cases, we’ll take things all the way to failure.”
In the summer issue of NC State magazine, we asked Keith Miller ’84, news editor for the amusement park industry magazine Funworld, for a list of can’t-miss experiences. You’ll find links to all 14 below, as well as videos of a number of them.
Columbus County native Benny Suggs ’69 has made a career out of pursuing his passions. After he graduated from NC State, his love for and fascination with planes led him to the Navy, where he spent 30 years, retiring in 2000 as a rear admiral. After that, he pursued his lifelong devotion to motorcycles at Milwaukee, Wis.-based Harley-Davidson, where he worked in management for the past decade. Now he’s left his job as general manager of the Harley Owners Group and Rider Services, which has 1.2 million members worldwide, to devote his energies to another passion: NC State.
After four decades away from North Carolina, Suggs joined the NC State Alumni Association as its executive director in mid-June. Some of his skills, like how to land a plane on an aircraft carrier, will probably be underused. But Suggs has learned more than a few things along the way that will come in handy as he aims to fulfill the Alumni Association’s core mission: engaging alumni and friends through programs and services that foster pride and enhance a lifelong connection to NC State.
When we talked with Suggs in early May, he told us why Wolfpack is the best team name, how his psychology degree helped his Navy career and why NC State was the only place that could tempt him to leave Harley.
NC State: How did you decide to come to NC State for college?
Suggs: I grew up in a rural community in Columbus County [and] later graduated from New Hanover County High School in Wilmington. Going to one of the Big Four schools was a dream as a kid, and State was my No. 1 choice.
NC State: Why?
Suggs: I was a member of the Future Farmers of America, and we had our state convention there every year. And to walk into Reynolds Coliseum, for me, was just awe-inspiring. I loved the campus. I loved the attitude of the people I met. It just had a real good feel to it. And, of course, I had some teachers who were NC State alumni, and they were terrific examples of leadership that NC State shapes. Also, I really liked the whole land-grant system and taking folks who, in some cases, have modest beginnings and giving them an opportunity to get a world-class education and supporting them throughout a lifetime. So while I considered Carolina, Duke and Wake Forest, State always came out on top. And I liked the [team] name, Wolfpack. I always thought that was cool. (more…)
Capt. Christopher Conner '95 in June 2010. (Photo courtesy of Christopher Conner '95)
Capt. Christopher Conner ’95 is commander of Company C of the 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion in the U.S. Marine Corps. In July 2009 Conner led his company into southern Afghanistan, which The Washington Post documented through three multimedia presentations that include photos of him:
This month, Conner’s leadership during that mission was honored with the Leftwich Trophy for Outstanding Leadership.
The Leftwich Trophy is awarded annually to one active duty Marine captain in the ground combat element serving as a company or battery commander in the ground forces. It honors the memory of Marine Lt. Col. William Groom Leftwich, who was killed in action in Vietnam in 1970. In addition to an awards ceremony in Washington D.C. that took place earlier this month, Conner will be recognized with a “hometown hero” billboard in his hometown of Gastonia. He spoke with writer Angela Spivey for a story for the fall issue of NC State magazine. After the jump are excerpts from Angela’s interview with him.
Friday update: Below is video of Capt. Conner receiving the award during the Marine Corps Association Ground Awards Dinner on June 3.
The trophy is quite an honor. What was it like to receive it?
It was a humbling experience. On the night of the ceremony, I could literally think of 1,000 people to thank for helping me to get to that point. But I narrowed it down to 146: my wife, my battalion commander who had such faith in me, a good friend and operations manager in my battalion who helped me plan the mission, and the 143 men in my company.