|Doc named top prof in Vermont
When John Donnelly was told about a campus ceremony to celebrate his latest award Professor of the Year for Vermont he made a typical move: He asked his students what he should wear. And, typical for Docs students, they were brutally honest. You cant wear a tie, and no white shoes and socks or markers on your face, they told their less-than-sartorially-splendid mentor. But, you have to look a little better than usual, Donnelly said, reporting their advice at the November ceremony.
Donnelly, professor of natural resources, was cited for this latest
honor by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching,
which annually salutes the most outstanding undergraduate professors
in the country those who excel as teachers and who inspire and
influence the lives of their students.
Doc regularly gets the equivalent of five-star ratings from his
students on all scores. He calculates his success by the growth
he sees in his students and remains discontent until they do well
and until he does better. For most of his years at UVM, he taught
in the traditional lecture mode, but became convinced that,
for long-term learning to take place, students must become more
actively involved in the learning process.
Don DeHayes, associate dean of the School of Natural Resources,
called Donnelly courageous for abandoning his already much-honored
and dynamic lecture style. He transformed himself and his classroom,
DeHayes said. He also read several of the letters from students
who nominated Donnelly. The letters described a professor whose
office light frequently remains on until 9 p.m., and an advisor
who calls his students and drops in at the library at 10 p.m.
to make sure his kids are working.
Provost Geoffrey Gamble read a letter from John Shane, now a senior
researcher and lecturer in forestry, who was one of Docs students.
Shane called him the most tenacious instructor I have ever met.
He absolutely never gives up on a student. . . . I learned more
in his class than in any other in my college career.
Colleagues and students also appreciate Donnellys openness about
his own shortcomings, a trait most might shelve at such a laudatory
event. Not Doc.
After DeHayes read the paean from one student, Doc revealed the
flip side of her opinion: She stood up at the end of one of my
classes last year and said, that was terrible.
In accepting his award, Donnelly thanked many people, from his
wife to his deans, but his deepest thanks went to the best teachers
Ive ever encountered my students.
The 18,500-square-foot structure, to be built immediately north
of the existing horse barn, will have twenty-two horse stalls
and be used for a variety of academic purposes. The new building
will significantly enhance instruction in equine science, says
Lawrence Forcier, dean of the Division of Agriculture, Natural
Resources and Extension. He added that the barn also will support
work in UVMs popular Department of Animal Sciences as well as
youth and 4-H programs across the state.
UVMs Equine Science Program emphasizes the scientific and technical
aspects of equine management and production. Students take courses
in equine physiology, nutrition, reproduction, technique training,
and small-business management. They also complete a related internship.
Students in the program have the opportunity to participate in
the management of a cooperative horse barn, using their own horses
or those provided by the program.
Amy and Rich Tarrants generosity, Forcier said, also provides
important leadership in replacing aging structures at the university
farm complex, where we welcome more than forty thousand visitors
The Tarrants have had three children Jerry 89, Rich, Jr. 90,
and Brian 93 graduate from UVM. Richard Tarrant serves on the
UVM board of trustees, and Amy Tarrant is a member of the equine
sciences advisory board.
UVMers lead hurricane relief
Its an extended family, and Vermont has a unique role, said
Dolores Sandoval, associate professor of education and president
of the Partners board. The first thing we heard is that people
wanted us to pray for them.
Current and former UVM faculty members compose the majority of
the Partners Board of Directors. Though numerous organizations
are conducting relief efforts, the existing bonds between Vermonters
and Hondurans give the Partners campaign an added emotional resonance.
Vermonters have always been very responsive to our association
with the people of Honduras, said Dr. Thomas Dowe, former dean
of agriculture at UVM and Partners executive director.
Lyndon Carew, professor of nutrition and food sciences and another
member of the Partners Board, left Nov. 23 for a trip that he
had scheduled several months before. Originally, He was to visit
the Pan-American School of Agriculture to share expertise in poultry
and egg production and the use of the velvet bean as a cover crop.
He expected to be spending his time on more pressing needs, such
Members of the Partners Farmer-to-Farmer Project, which began
in the late 1980s, had several trips planned before the hurricane
struck, said Fred Schmidt, project chair and director of UVMs
Center for Rural Studies. Two UVM graduates, Ron Krupp and Daren
Nicholson, traveled to Honduras in late November to bring seeds
and help plant crops. They also will try to help solve the problem
of getting crops to market when there is no market left, Schmidt
There also is talk of a faculty-and-student team traveling there
during spring break to do some hands-on community work, Schmidt
said. Sharing expertise in agriculture and other areas is only
part of the solution, he said. We also need to make sure they
know we care about them. And theres nothing like being there
in person to drive that home.
Probing core questions
The big picture is to understand the process of core formation,
the rates or time frame in which that may occur and the geochemical
implications for the core-mantle system, says Rushmer. We are
fairly certain the Earth formed by many bombardments and eventual
coalescence of meteorite-like material during the formation of
the solar system. However, how the Earth came to be stratified,
having an inner and outer core, a mantle and crust is less clear.
Rushmers study tests one of the main hypotheses as to how the
Earths core was formed. She is attempting to recreate the strain
placed on the meteorites to see how they will deform and how the
iron in them will react, crucial evidence to supporting what is
known as the dynamic hypothesis of the cores formation.
In addition to providing funding, NASA helped Rushmer obtain a
small piece of meteorite from the Smithsonian Museum. The shard
under pressure in the Perkins lab was part of a meteorite that
fell in Kernouve, France, in the 19th century.
Turning Bach to the Web
Singers from around the world have noticed since the sites September debut, Ambrose says, and several fine performing groups of Bach have asked permission to download the translations for their programs. (Permission is freely given.)
The Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists are using Ambroses
scholarship. The group, singing in the Herderkirche in Weimar,
plans an ambitious project: performing all the surviving church
cantatas of Bach during the year 2000, the 250th anniversary of
the composers death. Also using the site are the Emmanuel Church
in Boston and the Bach Society of Washington.
There are many Bach Web sites out there, but this is the first
work on paper or in cyberspace, Ambrose says, to contain everything.
It has the secular cantatas, the passions, motets, masses and
other vocal works, each with commentary on the sources, biblical
and poetic, and on its performance history.
Sho Nemoto, who was born in a small Japanese village in 1850,
converted to Christianity, studied English, and became intrigued
by America and its technological advances. In 1879, after a difficult
voyage on the steam cargo vessel City of Beijing, Sho arrived
in San Francisco. He attended public schools and was sponsored
by Alfred Barstow, a lawyer and friend of Billings. Billings mentored
Sho, financing his education at UVM, welcoming him into his homes
in Woodstock, Vermont and New York, and remaining his friend for
life. Sho was nearly forty when he graduated from UVM, and Billings
paid for his trip home, via a European tour. Billings parting
advice to Sho, according to Atsushi, was, Be a useful man in
Sho took the words to heart. He won a seat in the Diet, Japans
House of Representatives, and introduced legislation restricting
access to alcohol and tobacco, promoting free education, and encouraging
the development of railroads. He sent his eldest son and heir,
whom he named Billings, to study in the United States, but the
ship on which he traveled sank, and the young man drowned.
Sho commissioned Ujihiro Okuma, a highly-regarded Japanese sculptor,
to create the bust of Billings that he donated to UVM. When Atsushi
and Naoko visited the Fleming, director Ann Porter learned that
the bust is one of few extant works by Okuma, whose sculptures
at home were melted for munitions during World War II.
Sho Nemoto and Billings had several reunions, in Vermont and in
Tokyo, and, after the great Tokyo earthquake of 1923, the Billings
family contributed to Shos rebuilding efforts.
Sho died in 1933. This past October, the Sho Nemoto Memorial Foundation
unveiled a monument at his birthplace.
The English Departments annual Buckham Seminar typically brings
a scholar to campus to discuss his or her work with students.
This semesters seminar will have a decided twist as it brings
the artist himself, easily the most popular writer in America.
Magistrale, one of the first academics to turn his attention to
Kings work, has written extensively on the bestselling author
and places him in the American gothic canon alongside the likes
of Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Magistrale notes that it is very rare for King to make such an
appearance. I think he was attracted by the idea that we werent
asking him to come over here so we could put him under a glass
and examine him, Magistrale says, but we truly wanted him to
come to UVM to teach and interact with our students for an afternoon
of the seminar.
King will meet with the seminar students the afternoon of March
29 and have dinner with them in the evening. The next day hell
deliver a public talk in Patrick Gymnasium at 7 p.m. Admission
is free, but tickets will be required and can be obtained from
UVMs English Department, (802) 656-3056.
Both biological and population-based studies have identified clear
non-cancer dangers such as increased risk of infant death, lung
disease, and developmental problems that face the estimated
1.75 million infants born in the United States each year after
being exposed during fetal development to cigarette smoke by a
mother who smokes or is regularly exposed to people who smoke.
However, the biological link to cancer has been less conclusive.
The strongest evidence to date has come from population-based
studies suggesting an increased risk of childhood cancers, especially
leukemia and lymphoma, in children whose mothers were exposed
to passive or secondhand smoke during their pregnancies.
The new study, led by UVM College of Medicine/Fletcher Allen Health
Care pediatrician Dr. Barry Finette, looked for an indirect genetic
link to cancer by examining a specific gene for genetic changes
that have in other genes been associated with cancer.
According to Finette, the new findings provide the first biological
explanation of studies demonstrating an increased risk of childhood
cancer due to passive maternal exposure to cigarette smoking.
The new study also adds biological evidence that genetic changes
associated with cancer may occur during fetal development.
Developing cancer is a multifactorial process, so when it occurs
in children, many of the genetic changes that add up to cancer
must have happened before birth, Finette said. These findings
suggest that transplacental exposure to cigarette smoke may be
one of these genetic factors that increase the risk of childhood
cancer. Whether or not this turns out to be true will require
additional research in the laboratory and in large populations.
Finette now believes that future studies will need to investigate the potential genetic changes associated with active maternal smoking during pregnancy as well as genetic changes that may occur in children after birth if they are exposed to cigarette smoke.
Future Alumna Noël Kemmerer 99
A senior in the Environmental Program, Kemmerer has centered her
studies and internships on preparing for a career working to foster
within children a connectedness with the natural world and a strong
Kemmerers academic direction took distinct shape with a study
abroad trip to Australia last year. Working at the Center for
Rainforest Studies, she developed programs and a web page to teach
children about the Queensland rainforest. She has followed that
with a Shelburne Farms internship, and a thesis project that involves
creating camp programs for kids at a Vermont Institute for Natural
Sciences nature center in Montpelier.
Kemmerer says a key lesson she has taken from her field experience
is that one of the best things I can do as an environmental educator
is to just give kids some unstructured time in the woods to
explore, to build forts, to bond with nature.
Looking back on her own childhood, Kemmerer says that her passion
for nature and determination to protect the environment began
with long hours out in the woods outside her parents home in
rural northern New Jersey, or on summer trips to Nantucket and
Today, Kemmerers faith in children rivals her faith in nature. When kids speak up about environmental issues, she says, people listen.
Born in 1980
Alumni wishing to commiserate can access the UVM Alumni list from the UVM web pages: www.uvm.edu.