Wednesday, December 15, 2010

High school students visit HU, earn nearly $1 million in scholarship money

High school students and HU SRT members mesh during weekend

Seventy-one high school students spent the weekend at Hampton University as part of the school’s sixth annual Honors Visitation Weekend Nov. 18-Nov. 21. The weekend is an opportunity for future Hamptonians to view the campus, experience college life and become exposed to academic standards and expectations. Those selected to attend have already been accepted to HU, and hold a specific academic standing, which includes an 1100 or higher SAT score and a 3.5 or higher GPA that makes them eligible for university scholarships.

Students traveled from as far as California and as nearby as Virginia Beach, Va. The weekend, hosted by the HU Office of Admission, was flush with events, including academic sessions, a letter writing campaign to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, a pajama party and a culminating scholarship ceremony and jazz brunch. At the latter event, sponsored by Embassy Suites, $957,000 was awarded to students, in varied amounts of four-year scholarships.

There was a little something for everyone, including parents, officials said. Students’ parents were provided tours of the HU Proton Therapy Institute, the university museum and visited Peninsula Towne Center.

“We wanted participants to get a full scope of Hampton University and we wanted the participants, and their parents, to feel rewarded for their successes,” said Melinda N. Gainer ’98, the event’s chief organizer and an HU assistant director of admission.

Gainer, who is also an adjunct professor in the HU Scripps Howard School of Journalism, had her event planning class coordinate the event’s logistics. Members of the HU Student Recruitment Team (SRT) helped coordinate the weekend by conducting campus tours for students and parents and planning the social aspects.

SRT members created the hash tag #HVW2010, so students could tweet throughout the weekend about their time on campus. Students’ frolicking on campus included residing in dorms, speaking with department deans and attending a fashion show. Attendees said the experience was an eye opener about college life.

Chrispus Saxon, of Wetumpka, Ala., said he enjoyed the weekend camaraderie and the, “interaction and being like a college student.”

Saxon, 17, whose mother is a Hamptonian, is set to major in Biochemistry in the Fall 2011. The weekend provided him with, “a better perspective of campus and of campus life,” he said.

The next Honors Visitation Weekend is set for Nov. 17-20, 2011. Gainer said her office looks forward to any opportunity to welcome potential Hamptonians, and create an ambiance that invites them back.

“With the upcoming Honors Visitation Weekend and any event our office hosts, we want to showcase all HU has to offer in the way of social scenery and academics,” Gainer said. “We take special care to ensure it’s a well rounded visit.”

Leha Byrd

HU J-School Welcomes AP Sports Editors

HU J-School Welcomes AP Sports Editors

For the third consecutive year, the Hampton University Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications welcomed members of the Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) for a Day of Diversity on Nov. 9.

Student had the opportunity to share information and tips with reporters and editors from, USA Today, Daily Press, the Washington Post, Boston Globe and AOL Such an experience will aid students as they prepare for careers in the challenging and evolving world of mass communications and journalism.

The day kicked off with a two-hour panel discussion with APSE journalists and moderated by Lynn Hoppes, senior director of The panel answered questions about the future of journalism, internship opportunities and career advice.

Afterwards, students participated in a news conference with HU football coach Donovan Rose and then headed to the mock newsroom to write, edit and file their stories, videos and photos. Working under deadline, the students had the opportunity to work hands-on with 15 professionals, receiving feedback and advice along the way. The Daily Press website features several of the students stories.

Also for the third year, HU students competed for two $3,000 internship stipends and a $500 summer scholarship on behalf of the APSE.

-Alison L. Phillips

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Hampton Alum Spices up TV

Mix one-part hot reality television with a batch of spicy competition, then stir in a dash of Hampton University and blend with lots of sugar. Bake until golden brown. What do you get? Meet Kendra Jordan, a 2001 Hampton University (Quintessence IV) Alum competing for $50,000 on TLC’s newest series – “Cake Boss: The Next Great Baker.”

Set to air on Monday, Dec. 6 at 9/8c, the series will feature ten talented pastry chefs, unique in their backgrounds and experiences, but united in their passion for baking and decorating. Jordan, the self-described “Southern Belle” of the cast, says her Southern upbringing in the kitchen next to her mother is what has most prepared her for this challenge.

“I watched my mom and would always help during holidays,” she said. “My mom is actually a baker and we love to eat.”

The lessons from Jordan’s mother aren’t the only motivation she had to apply for the show. According to Jordan, the opportunity to showcase her talent came right in the midst of a hardship. After a difficult break-up, she decided that picking up a hobby might be a good way to help her cope.

“I was extremely depressed,” she said. “Because of my background in baking and love for shows like ‘Ace of Cakes,’ I took a class in cake decorating and I fell in love.”

With a renewed passion for baking, Jordan says everything began to fall into place. After hearing about the TLC casting call, Jordan applied and sent in a picture of her cakes. After a long process of video interviews and personal interviews, Jordan was finally selected as a contestant.

“I was in shock when they called,” Jordan said. “It really felt like destiny.

As a sixth grade English teacher from a small town, many were surprised at her decision to be a part of the show. But overall, she says she’s received an overwhelming amount of support. It’s this support that Jordan says has motivated her to really give her all.

In retrospect, Jordan says that this show has been a spiritual journey. Now that the show has finished filming, she is excited to share the ride with others.

“I’ve been so blessed,” she said. “All I wanted was for someone to open the door and it’s been an awesome ride. I’ve learned to enjoy life and really be true to myself. I hope that anyone that sees the show will be inspired to follow their dreams.”

“Cake Boss: The Next Great Baker” will premiere on Monday, Dec. 6 at 9/8c on TLC.

- Jess Moore

Thursday, December 2, 2010

HU Professor featured on NPR's "Tell Me More"

HU Professor featured on NPR's "Tell Me More"

On Nov. 30, Hampton Univeristy Assistant Professor Shonda Buchanan was featured on NPR's "Tell Me More." Buchanan, who is of North Carolina and Mississippi Choctaw Indian ancestry, joined historian William Katz to discuss the struggles some African American Indians face for acceptance amongst their kin.

Listen to the podcast:

Thursday, November 18, 2010

HU Players & Co. Present "Doubt"

HU Players & Co. Present "Doubt"

'Doubt' stars Shaun Harvell, Mycole Willis and Jade Banks

"Doubt" stars Shaun Harvell, Mycole Willis and Jade Banks

The Hampton University Players and Company proudly present “Doubt” by John Patrick Shanley. This intriguing, dark drama will be held Dec. 2-5 in Armstrong Hall’s Little Theater at HU. Friday and Saturday performances begin at 8 p.m.; Sunday matinee opens at 3 p.m. Tickets are $10 for general admission, $8 for senior citizens, children and students, and free admission for HU students.

Set in 1964, charismatic priest Father Flynn is trying to upend the strict customs at St. Nicolas Catholic School in the Bronx, which have long been fiercely guarded by Sister Aloysius Beauvier, the strict principal. When a younger nun, Sister James, alleges an inappropriate relationship between Father Flynn and a younger student has developed, a firestorm of attacks begins. Are we really innocent until proven guilty? Is the court of public opinion stronger than the court of law? “Doubt” will arrest your fears, your faith and your suspicions. Even in a world of faith, we all have doubt.

Directed by Bresean Jenkins, assistant professor of theater at HU, the cast of “Doubt” features Jade Banks, Shaun Harvell, Elicia McCray, Raven Parker, Winston Williams, and Mychole Willis. Jenkins will also serve as costume designer. Assistant Professor of Speech and Theater C. Perry Otto will head scenic and light design.

For ticket information, please contact the HU Box Office at (757) 5236 or (757) 727-5402.

-Alison L. Phillips

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

HU Engineering Department Researching Designs to Make Aircraft Fly Better

Hampton University’s School of Engineering and Technology was awarded a research contract from Lockheed Martin for $93,000. Dr. Morris H. Morgan, III, professor in the Department of Engineering and principal investigator of the contract, and Vitali Khaikine, a researcher in the Department of Engineering, will work in the HU Aeropropulsion Center (HU-APC), at the HU Olin engineering building, researching designs to allow aircraft to fly at super and hypersonic speeds.

Morgan’s research focuses on the shape of the plane and creating the optimal waverider body structure that allows planes to fly better at super and hypersonic speeds. The two forces that affect the plane in flight are the lift and the drag. The waverider is hypersonic design that improves the lift to drag ratio. The goal is to design an aircraft that will increase the lift and decrease the drag.

“Lockheed Martin has provided us with a design for the top of the plane,” stated Morgan. “We are analyzing what would be the best shape for the bottom based on pressure and speed.”

To analyze the different shapes, Morgan will work with Dr. Vadivel Jagasivamani, assistant professor in the Department of Engineering, in HU-APC to create small-scale 3D prototypes of their computer generated designs for wind tunnel testing. HU graduate students will have an opportunity to help during the simulation in the HU-PAC.

As a product of this research, HU will develop for Lockheed Martin OFM software that can define the windward surface of an aircraft if given the proper data. HU has the option of devising this software product using Fortran, C or Simulink computer languages.

“It is a very simple concept,” stated Morgan, who shared the principle behind lift and drag with a piece of paper and a fan. “The most energy is used in the takeoff… you just have to design the aircraft to balance what is on top with what is on the bottom.”
Naima A. Gethers

Thursday, November 4, 2010

HU President Dr. William R. Harvey Responds to WSJ Article Criticizing HBCUs

HU President Dr. William R. Harvey Responds to WSJ Article Criticizing HBCUs





A recent Wall Street Journal article by Jason Riley questioned the relevance of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in today's society. He complained about President Obama's conventional approach to HBCUs and opined that "instead of more subsidies and toothless warnings to shape up", the President and federal government ought to "…remake these schools to meet today's challenges."

I cannot speak for the President, but I have spoken to him about HBCUs. An ardent supporter of historically black colleges and universities, President Obama understands and appreciates their value to the nation and the world. The facts justify his support, i.e., representing 4% of all American colleges and universities, HBCUs conferred over 22% of all degrees awarded to African Americans. With only 13% of African Americans in higher education, these colleges awarded nearly 30% of all undergraduate degrees earned by African American students in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines; 50% of all bachelor's degrees in teacher education received by African American students; and 85% of Doctor of Medicine degrees acquired by African Americans according to statistics compiled by the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education.

Read the entire piece:

HU Named a Top Research Institution

Genomics LabChemistry Lab

Hampton University students conduct research in the genomics lab and a chemistry lab.

HU Named a Top Research Institution

Hampton University has been named a top research institution in the 2010 Washington Monthly College Guide. HU is listed in the top 10 ranking in the Research Category for master’s universities. Hampton University is also listed No. 32 in the Top 50 Master’s Universities category out of more than 500 such institutions surveyed.

“Hampton University’s faculty and students are conducting cutting-edge research that addresses major health issues and global climate change,” said HU President Dr. William R. Harvey. “The newly opened Hampton University Proton Institute, the largest of its kind in the world, demonstrates our dedication to research and treatment that will ease human suffering and save lives.”

The Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute (HUPTI) held its grand opening on Oct. 21, 2010. Along with state-of-the-art proton therapy treatment, cancer research will also be conducted at the $225 million innovative biomedical cancer facility. HUPTI in conjunction with Eastern Virginia Medical School and the Midwest Proton Radiotherapy Institute is developing BioEclipse, the first biologically optimized treatment-planning system for proton therapy cancer treatment.

Hampton University has led all Virginia top-tiered research universities in winning competitive federal research contracts. Hampton University has received over $140 million in climate research funding from NASA for the Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere (AIM) satellite mission. AIM is the first satellite dedicated to the study of noctilucent (NLC) or "night-shining" clouds. Hampton University is the first Historically Black College and University to have total mission responsibility for a NASA satellite mission.

Washington Monthly bases its rankings on “how well individual colleges and universities were meeting their public obligations in the areas of social mobility, research, and service.” The research score for master’s universities is based on the total amount of an institutions research spending and the number of undergraduate alumni who have gone on to receive a Ph.D. in any subject, relative to the size of the institution.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Attention Alumni

Homecoming is Nov. 6, 2010 and some of you haven't been back to your “Home by the Sea” since you graduated! A LOT of things have changed on campus but you wouldn’t know if you haven’t been back. Here's some help to prove you've been away too long.

"You know it's been too long since you've been on The Yard ..."

…if you think the cottages are still on campus.

...if you think The Divine 9 still run the campus.

…if you didn't know Ogden Hall has air conditioning and cushioned seats.

…if you didn’t know Moton Hall is a female dorm now, Winona Hall is a male dorm now, Marshall is a female dorm and Queen St no longer exists.

…if you think the "Hampton Man" still looks like a "Buppy".

…if you still think we play Virginia Union and Virginia State in sports.

…if you didn’t know Ogden Circle looks like The United Nations now with all the flags waving.

…if you didn’t know the "we don't shake hands, we hug" culture has been replaced with "we don't hug, we tweet".

…if you think you're going to The Grille to get some chicken wings.

... if you think you can grab a snack at the CC store.

…if you think students still have to pay to get into sporting events.

…if you still think meal cards are your entry into the cafeteria.

... if when you think “The Carter”, you’re referring to James Hall (New Jack City) instead of Lil Wayne .

…if you believe Joe Taylor is still the head football coach.

…if you think the only internet access on campus is still on the 5th floor of the library.

…if you think the cheerleaders are females only!

…if you think there is still a “Munchie Shop” across from the “Game Room”.

…if you don't know there’s a bowling alley on campus.

…if you still think Joy Jefferson is the Director of Student Activities.

…if you still think Greek Intake happens in the spring. All Fall lines now.

…if you think Ms. Gracie will ask "you want some gravy baby?" (RIP Ms. Gracie)

…if you think they still have a Senior Cab in the fall.

...if you didn't know the campus population now looks like a United Colors of Benetton Ad!

…if you can’t wait to visit the Student “Union” next time when you come back.

…if you think Greek probates are still held on Ogden or by the Big CafĂ©.

…if you think you can drive on campus before 5 p.m. without stopping for security.

… if you don’t know that the Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute is the largest proton cancer treatment center in the WORLD!

- Ryan C. Greene, Hampton University Class of 1997

Follow him on Facebook (, Twitter (@iamryg) and online (

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Dominion Awards HU J-School Grant to Increase Energy Awareness

Dominion Awards HU J-School Grant to Increase Energy Awareness

Professor Joy McDonald and Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communication Interim Dean Rosalyn Whitaker-Heck,  grant co-principle investigators, accept the award.

Professor Joy McDonald and Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communication Interim Dean Rosalynne Whitaker-Heck, grant co-principal investigators, accept the award.

Hampton University’s Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications has been awarded a $40,000 grant from the Dominion Foundation to implement student-produced multimedia energy-related projects.

The grant funding will support the creation of student-produced journalism and public relations projects aimed towards increasing the public’s energy awareness. Topics will include natural resource exploration, energy transportation and storage, power generation and energy delivery, renewable power projects and energy conservation efforts in the Hampton Roads region. The information campaign will be disseminated via web-based multimedia platforms. The grant will also support a series of training workshops for students and faculty and software upgrades.

“Through this project, our students will be able to produce relevant content for people to make informed decisions about energy use and consumption,” said Rosalynne Whitaker-Heck, interim dean of the Scripps Howard School and co-principal investigator for the grant. Assistant Professor and internship coordinator Joy McDonald will also serve as co-principal investigator.

The award is one of five to be presented to area universities Oct. 20 at a luncheon hosted by the foundation at The Founders Inn in Virginia Beach, Va. Old Dominion University, Norfolk State University, Thomas Nelson Community College and Tidewater Community College also received grants ranging from $10,000 to $40,000.

The grants total $150,000 and will support various programs in business, skilled craft, engineering, environmental and technical studies, and for student-led conservation programs. The Dominion Foundation is the charitable arm of Dominion Virginia Power.

"This new program was created specifically for higher education," said Bill Hall, vice president for corporate communications and community affairs with Dominion Virginia Power and president of the Dominion Foundation. "We see the importance in funding and cultivating the innovative studies that are happening at our colleges and universities and their potential for the future."

- Alison L. Phillips

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

HU Announces Musical Arts Society Season

HU Announces Musical Arts Society Season

Leon Bates

Leon Bates

Handels' Messiah

Handel's Messiah

Project TRIO

Project TRIO

Derrick Gardner

Derrick Gardner

The Hampton University Musical Arts Society has announced its 2010-2011 season featuring internationally renowned musicians Leon Bates, PROJECT Trio, and Derrick Gardner and the Jazz Prophets. All performances will be held in HU’s Ogden Hall, widely known for being one of the premier acoustical settings on the East Coast.

“The Musical Arts Society continues its legacy of presenting exceptional artists and cultural events for the campus and the Hampton Roads region. This year is sure to be a memorable one,” said Dr. Shelia Maye, chair of the Musical Arts Society and the HU Department of Music.

Leon Bates, Nov. 13 at 8 p.m.
Admission: $30; As one of America’s leading pianists, Leon Bates has earned a place on the international concert circuit, performing with the New York Pops, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Boston Symphony. And as a disciplined body builder, he cannot only play the piano, he can lift one!

HU Choirs & Orchestra present Handel's “Messiah, ” Dec. 5 at 4 p.m.
Admission is complimentary, donations are appreciated. Celebrate the season with HU’s Department of Music as the University Choirs and Orchestra present George Frederic Handel’s timeless holiday classic.

PROJECT Trio, Feb. 20, 2011 at 4 p.m.
Admission: $20; Hailing from Brooklyn, N.Y., the three-man ensemble known as PROJECT Trio offers a musical experience defining a new level of entertainment for all ages. From hip-hop to chamber music, PROJECT Trio is sure to give a high-energy musical experience not to be missed.

Derrick Gardner & the Jazz Prophets, April 8, 2011 at 8 p.m.
Admission: $20; Inspired by the hard-blowing funky bop bands of the 1960s, jazz trumpeter Derrick Gardner returns to his alma mater for a performance with his band, The Jazz Prophets. Gardner has traveled the world playing top-flight jazz with the likes of the Count Basie Orchestra, Frank Foster’s Loud Minority Band, and Harry Connick Jr.’s Big Band.

For more information, visit Tickets are available online or call the HU Convocation Center box office at (757) 728-6800, Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

-Alison L. Phillips

Students Give Back through Entrepreneurship

While most students attended last week’s Career Fair in the hope of gaining employment, other students were busy working on their own businesses. Through hard-work, passion, research, legal paperwork, financial investments and plenty of patience, a few Hampton University students have already spun their dreams of entrepreneurship into realities.

For Kevin Matthews, owner and CEO of BuildingBread, LLC (a company that educates and informs on financial literacy), it was no easy task.

“I’ve been researching for years,” said Matthews, a junior economics major from Tulsa, Okla. “I’ve created my own library of books, called friends for help, got legal and professional advice from professors and took a chance.”

Matthews was drawn to start his business after learning the value of money from his father. As a child, he saved enough of his weekly allowance to buy video games. As a teenager, he saved enough to buy his first car…and then his second…and then his third- which he fixed up and sold at auctions. By the time he was 18, he bought his first house. With his personal experience, an internship at ING Investment Management last summer and personal research, Matthews is trying to give back by sharing his knowledge of financial literacy with others.

Also with dreams of giving back, sophomore business major Megan Schmidt (better known as ‘Cupcake Meg’) is the creator of the Brooklyn Capital for the Children Foundation. Schmidt, who is preparing to celebrate the one-year anniversary of selling cupcakes at Hampton on October 11, says that the cupcakes are the least of her story.

“All I wanted to do was raise money for my foundation so that I could provide for the communities that I am trying to help,” said Schmidt. “Selling cupcakes and t-shirts is how I’m feeding my foundation.”

The communities Schmidt has set her sights on are no easy fix. The first, in Belize City, Belize, is a community ravaged with youth violence. Schmidt is hoping to help by giving assistance to the Dorothy Menzie’s Childcare Home for orphans. Schmidt also visited Togo, West Africa; where, after seeing the state of the country’s youth education programs, she was inspired to build a school. Schmidt’s limitless dreams and ability to network has allowed her to shake hands with people such as the CEO of Pepsi, Pharrell, Jeremih and Ecko Red fashion designer Lee Wilke. With the help of her mother, her “street team” and numerous supporters, Schmidt is inspiring many by trying to “make the world sweeter,” one cupcake and one community at a time.

Junior Sydnee Mack, a public relations major from Las Vegas, began her non-profit business (Tee it Up Golf), in partnership with her older sister. Mack, a member of the University’s golf team and a nationally-ranked player decided to begin the organization to give back to a community to which golf is not an easily-accessible sport.

“The goal of my organization is to expose underprivileged children and teenagers to the sport and make them comfortable on the course,” Mack said. “Golf is one of the languages of business and my business helps kids understand the game and also encourages them academically and socially.”

With such a noble venture, it is not surprising that Mack was presented with the Special Benefactor Award, last year. The award is a grant given to a student to provide an international experience. With the help of Professor Erica Woods-Warrior, Mack won the award and has been given the chance to continue her business abroad. Mack has chosen to open her business in Germany; the site will launch in May 2011.

These young entrepreneurs are only a few of the many around Hampton’s campus, but a striking similarity exists in their giving spirits. As for advice to others who would like to start their own ventures, they offer these words of wisdom:

1. Know your market.
2. Become an expert in your field.
3. Use your resources (professors on campus have a wealth of knowledge).
4. Be patient.
5. Know what you can realistically accomplish.
6. Be professional; as young as we all are, no one will take us seriously if we do not take ourselves seriously.
7. Realize how and where you’ll get your money and be prepared to spend just as much.
8. Have a thorough plan.
9. Be brave.

- Jessica Moore

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

HU Receives Grant to Establish Biochemistry Program

Dr. Shanthi R. Paranawithana

Dr. Isai T. Urasa

The Hampton University Department of Chemistry recently received a $293,853 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to establish the new Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry degree program.

The grant will assist the department in procuring essential equipment and other resources needed to help the program grow. The curriculum for the program has been carefully designed to combine topics in biological, chemical, mathematical, and other key science concepts.

HU is one of four Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) that offer an undergraduate biochemistry degree. The program gives HU students interested in medical careers a chance to become more competitive in the industry.

“The program will place Hampton University in a rather unique position,” stated Dr. Isai T. Urasa, chair of the Department of Chemistry and principal investigator of the NSF grant. “We will be one of very few institutions that offer an undergraduate degree in biochemistry, it will promote our visibility for student recruitment and also enhance our competitiveness for research and other programmatic grants.”

Biochemistry is the study of the chemical processes in living organisms. It deals with the structure and functions of cellular components, such as proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, nucleic acids and other biomolecules. Biochemistry combines biology with organic and physical chemistry to reveal the mechanisms by which living things obtain energy from food; the chemical basis of heredity; and biological changes related to disease.

“It is widely understood that as in all science and engineering fields, minorities are acutely underre
presented in biochemistry and the biomedical workforce,” stated Urasa. “The newly established biochemistry program will provide chemistry and other science students with an expanded field of career options.”
Dr. Shanthi R. Paranawithana, assistant professor and coordinator of the newly established Biochemistry program, is also Co-PI of the grant. In addition to serving as coordinator of the biochemistry program, she is also teaching and mentoring students in this area. She has established a journal club, which she uses as a mentoring tool to reinforce critical thinking and responsible conduct in science and scientific research. Her mentoring activity extends to students in the Department of Biological Sciences as well.
Naima A. Gethers

Monday, September 27, 2010

Ruffin Commends HU for Addressing Health Disparities

Ruffin Commends HU for Addressing Health Disparities

Dr. John Ruffin, director of the National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities,           addresses the audience at the Hampton University Convocation Ceremony.

Dr. John Ruffin, director of the National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities, addresses the audience at the Hampton University Convocation Ceremony.

Dr. Ruffin poses with HU President Dr. William R. Harvey after the ceremony.

Dr. Ruffin poses with HU President Dr. William R. Harvey after the ceremony.

Dr. Harvey poses with HU seniors.

Dr. Harvey poses with HU seniors.

HU Senior Class President Misha Lawrence charges her classmates.

HU Senior Class President Misha Lawrence charges her classmates.

At the 68th Annual Hampton University Opening Convocation Ceremony today, Dr. John Ruffin, director of the National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities, commended Hampton University for its many programs and initiatives that address health disparities.

Ruffin said the Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute has the ability to change the results of prostate cancer in America. Prostate cancer remains the most common cancer in American men. African-American men continue to have higher prostate cancer prevalence and mortality rates compared to men in other populations. African-American men are 40 percent more likely to have prostate cancer and twice as likely as white men to die of the disease.

“I know of no other university without a medical school with the capability to change the affect of prostate cancer,” Ruffin said. “I will do all that I can to make sure that the proton center you have is not Hampton University’s best kept secret.”

Ruffin also mentioned other HU programs, the Hampton-Penn Center to Reduce Health Disparities and the Minority Health International Research Training, which has taken students to Tanzania, Kenya and Nigeria to study natural products and environmental health.

Ruffin said that while life expectancy in the United States inches up every year “progress in medicine and public health are increasingly uneven.

“The more wealthy you are the healthier you are, and that is true all over the world,” Ruffin said. He went on to explain that access to health care is only part of what causes health disparities. Other factors including the environment, disparities in the workplace, and access to services like stores that sell fresh fruits and vegetables and safe places to play and exercise outdoors also contribute to health disparities.

Ruffin urged the students of all disciplines to become involved in the fight against health disparities by taking advantage of the National Institutes for Health Loan Repayment Program (LRP). LRPs encourage promising researchers and scientists to pursue research careers by repaying up to $35,000 of their qualified student loan debt each year.

“We need to be as interested in health disparities globally as we are in this country,” Ruffin said.

The Hampton University Opening Convocation marks the official beginning of the school year and the first time the graduating seniors don their caps and gowns. HU President Dr. William R. Harvey urged the seniors to make the most of their last undergraduate year and take advantage of all Hampton University has to offer them.

Senior Class President Misha Lawrence also charged her classmates to choose wisely and make good decisions. Lawrence said that once they leave Hampton University and enter the boardrooms, they will stand tall and say, “Hampton made me this way.”

- Yuri Rodgers Milligan

Friday, September 24, 2010

HU Professor Featured on NPR's "Tell Me More"

HU Professor Featured on NPR's "Tell Me More"

Hampton University's Dr. Linda Malone-Colon, chair of the Department of Psychology and director of the National Center on African American Marriages and Parenting (NCAAMP), was featured on NPR's "Tell Me More" on Sept. 22. Click here to listen to the interview or view the transcript:

Activists Unite For 'No Wedding, No Womb'
NPR "Tell Me More" | September 22, 2010

The out-of-wedlock birth rate for African-Americans at 72 percent is the highest of any race and ethnic group in the U.S. In response "100 bloggers" will join forces for "No Wedding, No Womb" to force a dialogue in the black community about why this is happening and how we turn the corner on solutions. Host Michel Martin speaks with Christelyn Karazin, founder of the No Wedding, No Womb movement, and Hampton University's chair of psychology Dr. Linda Malone-Colon.

Friday, September 17, 2010

HU Army ROTC Chair, Alumnus Promoted

HU Army ROTC Chair, Alumnus Promoted

On. Sept. 17, the Hampton University Department of Military Science held a ceremony to honor Maj. Kenneth B. Smedley, department chair and HU alumnus, who has been promoted to lieutenant colonel. Ft. Monroe Garrison Commander Col. Anthony D. Reyes ‘84 led the ceremony.

"This is a special day in his life and to ask me to be a part of this, well, I couldn't be more honored," said Reyes.

The ceremony was held outside the HU Marine Science Building.

Col. Reyes and Smedley's wife partake in the pinning ceremony.

Smedley graduated as a distinguished military graduate from HU in December 1993 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in aviation. In 1998, he served as executive officer of the Aviation Intermediate Maintenance Company in support of Operation Joint Endeavor (Bosnia-Herzegovina). In 2000, he commanded Q Troop, 4th Squadron, 3rd ACR, one of only two AH-64A Apache Troops in the Regiment. In 2003, Smedley was assigned to 1-337th Aviation, 4th Brigade (TS), in Ft. Knox, Ky., where he served as the attack team chief and battalion executive officer. In 2006, he once again served as battalion executive officer when he joined the 3rd Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 12th Combat Aviation Brigade in Illesheim, Germany. In July 2008, MAJ Smedley deployed with 3-159th ARB in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 08-10, where he served 13 months as the battalion operations officer, split between Joint Base Balad and Contingency Operating Base Basra, Iraq.

Several cadets in the HU Army ROTC Pirate Batallion were present to witness their department's professor of military science advance in his career. Reyes spoke to them, pointing out all of Smedley's military accomplishments and charging them to follow suit. "Cadets, please hear what I am saying because you have in front of you a blueprint," he said.

HU military alumni stationed at Ft. Eustis, Ft. Monroe and the Pentagon also returned to their alma mater for the ceremony.

“I couldn’t be happier to be here at Hampton University to continue my career,” said Smedley following his pinning.

-Alison L. Phillips

(L to R): Retired Maj. Gen. Wallace Arnold, Norfolk State University Professor of Military Science Lt. Col. Nicholas M. Anthony Jr., Ft. Monroe Garrison Commander Col. Anthony Reyes, Lt. Col. Kenneth B. Smedley and retired Lt. Col. Claude Vann.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

HU professor works to preserve historic area churches

HU professor works to preserve historic area churches

St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Norfolk, Va.

St. Peter's features 19th century Gothic style architecture.

This summer Dr. Natalie Robertson, HU associate professor of political science and history, advocated to have St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Norfolk, Va., placed on the National Register of Historic Places as well as the Virginia Landmarks Register. Located at 1625 Brown Ave., the church was nominated to the registers based upon her research and completion of the formal nomination process.

According to Robertson, typically churches are nominated to the registers for their age and their distinctive architectural qualities. “It is important to get churches listed on the registers because they preserve distinctive architectural styles and they embody important historical and cultural information about the larger American or African-American contexts out of which they emerged,” said Robertson.

While Saint James Holiness Church of Christ Disciples currently occupies the edifice, the church was placed on the registers under its historic name. St. Peter’s was a mission of historic St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Norfolk and served as the borough church for the Elizabeth River Parish. Placed on the registers for its architecture, the church is an outstanding example of the Gothic style of architecture that was prominent in the 19th century. The church has maintained its architectural integrity for more than 120 years and is associated historically with the Bramble and Dyson families of Norfolk.

This is the second church that Robertson has placed on the National Register and the Virginia Landmarks Register. The first was Zion Poplars Baptist Church in Gloucester, Va.

- Alison L. Phillips

Friday, September 10, 2010

First-generation college students paired with mentors at Hampton University

Read the Daily Press story on how HU's PRESS program is helping incoming freshman Breonna Williams (and 99 other first generation college students) learn the ropes of college life.

September 04, 2010 | by Samieh Shalash, Daily Press

HAMPTON — — Breonna Williams and 99 other incoming Hampton University freshmen are getting help adjusting to life as first-generation college students.

Each is being mentored by a current student who also is the first person in their family to attend college. The hook-up is through PRESS, or The Program for Retention and Enrichment of Successful Students, which was started this year by a $100,000 grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation.

Students gets a mentor, peer tutors, a $150 textbook stipend and workshops for two years. The program is run by Erica Woods-Warrior, a political science professor who applied for the grant.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

HU Mathematician Honored in Who’s Who

Dr. Widad Elmahboub

HU Mathematician Honored in Who’s Who

This September, the 28th edition of Who’s Who of American Women will feature Hampton University’s Dr. Widad Elmahboub. As an assistant professor in the HU Department of Mathematics, Elmahboub also serves as the team chair of the HU Research Center of Earth, Space and GIS Analysis (RCESG) Mathematics.

Her current research focuses on the simulation and modeling for surface materials on Mars. She developed a new methodology to accurately target classifications of Earth’s resources.

She is the author of many journals and is active in publishing and editing referred journals. She works hard with her undergraduate and graduate students on different research endeavors.

“I am very pleased,” stated Elmahboub regarding the recognition from Who’s Who of American Women. “Working hard always pays off.”

Elmaboub has also been featured in Who’s Who in America Medicine and Healthcare and Who’s Who in America Science and Engineering.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

HU Awarded $2.69M Grant to Assist Local School Districts

Hampton University Awarded $2.69M Grant to Assist Local School Districts

The U.S. Department of Education’s School Leadership Program has awarded Hampton University a $322,489 grant for five years, totaling $2.69 million in support of the HU Leadership Academy (HULA). U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the grant. Through the grant, HU will partner with area schools to implement a multifaceted approach towards improving student achievement by improving the effectiveness of educational leadership.

“Effective school leaders create a culture of success and it permeates into all aspects of the school,” said Dr. Michael McIntosh, coordinator of HU’s Educational Leadership Program and principal investigator for the grant. “At the heart of this project will be training these administrators to become more like facilitators and less like lone rangers.”

With local school districts facing dire budgetary constraints, the grant will offer exposure to and participation in the most current, research-based practices that successfully turn around low-achieving schools. HULA will partner with Norfolk Public Schools, Portsmouth City Public Schools, Franklin City Public Schools, Danville City Public Schools, and Roanoke City Public Schools.

“This funding to establish a leadership academy is fitting because Hampton University has a strong legacy of inspiring competent and conscientious educational leaders. This project will enhance the institution’s ability to serve the contemporary needs of local area school districts by addressing one of the most pressing needs – the cultivation of strong school leaders,” said Dr. Cassandra Herring, dean of the College of Education and Continuing Studies.

The program’s goals include:

  • To significantly increase the percentage of participants who become principals
  • To significantly increase the number and percentage of school administrators (principals and assistant principals) who participate in professional development activities
  • To significantly increase the number of school administrators who improve their skills and are retained in high-need schools for more than two years
  • To regularly and systematically collect student achievement data to use as a measure to assess the effectiveness of the project

Five-year grants were awarded to six school districts, three non-profit organizations, and five universities in 12 states. HU was the only organization in Virginia to receive funding.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

HU’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute Receives $1 Million Endowment

HU's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute Receives $1 Million Endowment

Hampton University has been awarded a $1 million endowment from the Bernard Osher Foundation in support of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at HU (OLLI at HU), which offers continuing educational opportunities to mature adults.

OLLI at HU offers educational and cultural learning opportunities for Hampton Roads citizens, ages 50 and older. The institute offers non-credit, six-week courses aimed at improving skills, exploring new ideas and interacting with active people who share similar interests. An array of courses taught by retired professors and professionals including computers, equestrian, music and theater, photography, psychology, and swimming is offered.

Membership cost is $35; registration is $50 and covers three courses. For more information or to join, call (757) 727-5434.

Learn how OLLI at HU has influenced one Hampton resident in this Daily Press article:

HU Senior Institute Gets $1M Boost