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July 2015 (Vol. 14, No. 12)

  • Another Record Year in Fundraising at UVM
  • Popular Historic Tours of Campus Resume
  • Washington, D.C., Sinking Fast, Adding to Threat of Sea-Level Rise
  • UVM Offering Peace Corps Prep Program
  • Climate Change Puts Squeeze on Bumblebees
  • Study Suggests Link between Eye Color and Alcohol Dependence
  • Expert Responds to Supreme Court's Marriage Ruling
  • Bias-Aware Whites Better for Modern Race Challenges
  • Book Further Develops Base of Pyramid Business Model
  • UVM Biologist, with Falcon, Defends Endangered Species Act in D.C.
  • New Role for Twitter: Early Warning for Bad Drug Interactions
  • Study: Arguing Parents Affect Kids' Brains
  • Study: Consumers Don't View GMO Labels as Negative 'Warnings'
  • Athletics Update
  • Campus Kudos

Another Record Year in Fundraising at UVM
The University of Vermont Foundation set new records in its fundraising activities on behalf of the university during the fiscal year ended June 30, 2015, surpassing last year’s historic milestones for both commitments and receipts from donors. New fundraising commitments broke the $60 million mark for the first time in UVM history. Total commitments to UVM reached $60,576,278 as of June 30, 2015, compared with $55,248,575 in the same period a year ago, an increase of 9.6 percent over last year’s record mark. Commitments include new gifts, new pledges, and new bequests documented during the year. Read more here.

Popular Historic Tours of Campus Resume
The University of Vermont launched the 2015 season of its popular historic tours on July 4. Led by UVM emeritus professor William Averyt, the free, weekly tours take place Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon through Oct. 10. The tour begins at the statue of Ira Allen, just to the south of the fountain on the UVM green. There is no tour on Aug. 15. UVM was founded in 1791, the fifth oldest university in New England, and it boasts both an array of historic buildings, including more than a dozen on the National Register of Historic Places, and a collection of fascinating personalities. Read more here.

Washington, D.C., Sinking Fast, Adding to Threat of Sea-Level Rise
New research by University of Vermont geologist Paul Bierman and led by his former doctoral student, Ben DeJong confirms that the nation’s capital region could sink six or more inches by 2100 — adding to the problems of rising seas. Using several advanced techniques for calculating the age of rocks, including work at the UVM Cosmogenic Nuclide Laboratory, their study also shows that this sinking land will continue, unabated, for tens of thousands of years. Read more here.

UVM Offering Peace Corps Prep Program
The University of Vermont — one of the most prolific universities producing Peace Corps volunteers after graduation — has deepened its connection to the Peace Corps and to global service by becoming an official Peace Corps Prep institution. The University of Vermont recently ranked No. 7 among top volunteer-producing colleges and universities across the country, with 25 alumni currently serving worldwide. Since the agency’s founding in 1961, 857 UVM alumni have served in the Peace Corps. Read more here.

Climate Change Puts Squeeze on Bumblebees
Global warming is putting the squeeze on bumblebees. In the most comprehensive study ever conducted of the impacts of climate change on critical pollinators, scientists have discovered that global warming is rapidly shrinking the area where these bees are found in both North America and Europe. Researchers examined more than 420,000 historical and current records of many species of bumblebees — and confirm that bumblebees are in steep decline at a continental scale because of climate change. The new research is reported in the journal Science. Read more here.

Study Suggests Link between Eye Color and Alcohol Dependence
People with blue eyes might have a greater chance of becoming alcoholics, according to a unique new study by genetic researchers at the University of Vermont. The work, led by Arvis Sulovari, a doctoral student in cellular, molecular and biomedical sciences, and Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics Dawei Li, Ph.D., is the first to make a direct connection between a person’s eye color and alcohol dependence. The results of the research, published in the July issue of the American Journal of Medical Genetics: Neuropsychiatric Genetics (Part B), suggest the hope of finding the roots of not only alcoholism, but also many other psychiatric illnesses. Read more here.

Expert Responds to Supreme Court's Marriage Ruling
When UVM Today interviewed Ellen Andersen, associate professor of political science and gender, sexuality, and women’s studies in January, the author of Out of the Closets and into the Courts: Legal Opportunity Structure and Gay Rights Litigation predicted that the U.S. Supreme Court would vote 5-4 in favor of same-sex marriage. That prediction came true on Friday, June 26, as did her expectation that Justice Anthony M. Kennedy would be the swing vote and write the majority opinion in the 5-to-4 decision, the culmination of decades of litigation and a defining moment in civil rights history. UVM Today checked back with Andersen to break it down. Read more here.

Bias-Aware Whites Better for Modern Race Challenges
Some white Americans like to pat themselves on the back for being racially color blind. But a new study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology finds that whites aware of their biases are better equipped to address contemporary racial challenges, where prejudice is often expressed in subtle, unintentional and unconscious ways. Read more here.

Book Further Develops Base of Pyramid Business Model
More than a dozen years have passed since Professor Stuart Hart co-authored the landmark paper “The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid” offering a blueprint for companies wanting to turn a profit while also lifting the world’s poorest people out of poverty. Two books would follow along with major investments from corporations looking to capitalize from — and liberate — the four billion people living on $8 a day. Praise from the likes of Bill Clinton and Bill Gates aside, results have varied, according to a new edited book by Hart, titled Base of Pyramid 3.0: Sustainable Development Through Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Read more here.

UVM Biologist, with Falcon, Defends Endangered Species Act in D.C.
UVM wildlife biologist Joe Roman, accompanied by a Peregrine falcon, testified at a special briefing to the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee June 25, calling on Congress to protect the Endangered Species Act. “The Endangered Species Act is our nation’s safety net for plants, fish and wildlife on the brink of extinction,” said Roman, a researcher at UVM’s Gund Institute for Ecological Economics and Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources. “We owe it to our children, and future generations, to protect endangered species and the special places they call home. Read more here.

New Role for Twitter: Early Warning for Bad Drug Interactions
A team of scientists has invented a new technique for discovering potentially dangerous drug interactions and unknown side-effects — before they show up in medical databases, or even before doctors and researchers have heard of them at all. The far-seeing tool? A computer program that can efficiently search millions of tweets on Twitter for the names of many drugs and medicines — and build a map of how they’re connected, using the #hashtags that link them. Read more here.

Study: Arguing Parents Affect Kids' Brains
Children of parents who are frequently in conflict process emotion differently and may face more social challenges later in life compared with children from low-conflict homes, according to Alice Schermerhorn, assistant professor in UVM’s Department of Psychological Science and the author of a new study published in the Journal of Family Psychology. Read more here.

Study: Consumers Don't View GMO Labels as Negative 'Warnings'
A new study released just days after the U.S. House passed a bill that would prevent states from requiring labels on genetically modified foods reveals that GMO labeling would not act as warning labels and scare consumers away from buying products with GMO ingredients. The study, presented at the annual conference of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, held in San Francisco on July 27, relies on five years of data (2003, 2004, 2008, 2014 and 2015) and includes 2,012 responses to a representative, statewide survey of Vermont residents. It focuses on the relationship between two primary questions: whether Vermonters are opposed to GMO’s in commercially available food products; and if respondents thought products containing GMO’s should be labeled. Read more here.


The men's hockey and swimming & diving programs have announced their schedules for the upcoming 2015-16 season, while the men's and women's basketball non-conference schedules are also available now online at UVMathletics.com or by clicking on the links below:

Men's Hockey
Swimming & Diving
Men's Basketball
Women's Basketball

Men's Basketball Tipoff Dinner
The Vermont men's basketball program is set to host its second annual Vermont Basketball Tipoff Dinner on Friday, September 25, at the Burlington Country Club. The event will begin at 6 p.m. with cocktails and a silent auction. Dinner will follow at 7 p.m. The dinner will feature a look back at the success that the 2005 Catamounts had against Syracuse in the program's first-ever NCAA Tournament win. Head coach John Becker will also introduce the 2015-16 team at the event. Please click here to purchase tickets to the event.

UVM Athletic Hall of Fame
The UVM Athletic Hall of Fame will officially welcome seven new members this September in the Class of 2015: Lowell Bailey '05 (men's nordic skiing), Taylor Coppenrath '05 (men's basketball), Kami Cote '05 (women's hockey), Vanessa Cox '05 (women's lacrosse), Ethan Foster '05 (men's nordic skiing), TJ Sorrentine '05 (men's basketball), and Tom Brennan (special inductee). All seven individuals will be formally inducted at the 47th annual Hall of Fame Dinner on Saturday, September 26, at the Hilton Burlington. Click here to reserve your tickets, or click here to read more about the Class of 2015.

Capital One Cup
The UVM athletic program ranked among the top programs in the country for the Capital One Cup, which is awarded each year to the best men's and women's NCAA Division I athletic programs in the country. Vermont's women's program ranked 68th, while the men's program finished 79th among all Division I programs in the nation for the 2014-15 season. It marks the fourth straight year that the Catamounts have been ranked among the top-100 athletic programs in the nation.


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The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association has selected Barry Guitar, professor of communications sciences and disorders, as a recipient of the Honors of the Association, the highest award given by the organization. The award is public recognition of exceptional contributions to the field of speech, language and hearing over the course of a career. The award will be formally presented Nov. 13 at the association’s convention in Denver. Read more about Guitar’s career.

Scott Hamshaw, a doctoral candidate in the Civil & Environmental Engineering program, has been selected to receive a 2015 Switzer Environmental Fellowship. He’s one of 22 members of this year’s class of the prestigious program and will apply his $15,000 fellowship to continue his research on "advanced computational methods to characterize sediment transport in river systems,” he says. He works with Professor Donna Rizzo in the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences. Read more.

Garrison Nelson, Elliott A. Brown Green & Gold Professor of Law, Politics and Political Behavior, has served as an expert voice in the media for the upcoming U.S. presidential election with a special focus on Sen. Bernie Sanders. He has appeared in CBS News; the Boston Globe; Los Angeles Times; Vermont Public Radio; Politico; and the Terre Haute (Indiana) Tribune-Star, among others.

Dateline UVM Would Like to Hear from You: Send comments, questions, and address changes to Dateline UVM Editor Jay Goyette (jay.goyette@uvm.edu)