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Commencement 1999
Two New Deans Named
Hospital for the Future
Kellogg News
They Dig This Guy
Break from Spring Break
Beloved Color Purple
Virtual Understanding
Saving Lives
No Debate Here
Big Break
Divine Intervention
Game Winners

Times Past
Date Jerks, Pizza Runs

James Edward Avery
Karl de Schweinitz
George Howerton

Sesquicentennial News
The Plot Thickens

Lab Notes
A Good Grip
Getting Hyper
Good News, Bad News
Bic Trick
Solid Research
No Great Shakes
Save the Children
Bug Buster

Gifts and Grants
NU Leads Diabetes Study Tracking Welfare Reform Cardio Study: $8 Million

Campaign Northwestern
Toward the Goal Line

(Photo by Paul Merideth)

Commencement Speaker Calls for Ethical Leadership from Class of 1999
More than 4,000 diplomas, degrees and certificates are conferred.

Blue skies and cool breezes greeted the Class of 1999 and about 15,000 family members and guests on June 18 at Ryan Field for Northwestern's 141st annual Commencement ceremony.

Walter E. Massey, president of Morehouse College, delivered the Commencement address, speaking on the need for ethical leadership in the next century.

Massey (H99) cited several examples of ethical leaders at work today and in recent history -- Rosa Parks, civil rights activist; Motorola executive Robert Galvin; and Václav Havel, poet, activist and current president of the Czech Republic. "To don the mantle of ethical leadership, you will need more than sheer intelligence," Massey said. "You will also need an understanding and empathy for people of all backgrounds -- an understanding that can only come from personal engagement in activities and causes that benefit others, not just yourselves."

Massey, a noted leader in both education and national scientific affairs who also received an honorary degree during the ceremony, was asked to give the Commencement remarks at the last minute. Earlier that week, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, the scheduled speaker, was forced to cancel so she could attend critical talks in Europe on the Kosovo crisis.

University President Henry Bienen awarded 4,450 degrees, diplomas and certificates to students and presented five honorary doctoral degrees during the ceremony.

DEAN Birge

Dean John Birge

Dean Richard Lorenzen

McCormick, UC Deans Named
John Birge becomes engineering dean, and Richard Lorenzen heads University College.

John R. Birge has been named dean of the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science and a professor of industrial engineering and management science. On July 1, Richard L. Lorenzen became associate provost and dean of University College.

Birge, chair of the department of industrial and operations engineering at the University of Michigan, will succeed Jerome B. Cohen when he starts on Sept. 1. Cohen will be returning to full-time teaching and his research on X-rays and crystallization.

A member of the Michigan faculty since 1980, Birge is internationally recognized for his work on probability programming, and models and methods for decision making under uncertainty. He is president of the leading professional organization in this area, INFORMS (Institute for Operations Research and Management Science), and is editor in chief of the journal Mathematical Programming, Series B.

From 1983 until coming to the Evanston and Chicago campuses, Lorenzen headed the University of Washington Educational Outreach. Under his aegis, the program grew to include more than 65 professional certificate programs, 10 undergraduate and 12 graduate evening degrees, as well as 140 distance-learning courses.

Northwestern Memorial Hospital's 17-story Feinberg Inpatient Pavillion and the 22-story Galter Outpatient Pavillion.

A Hospital for the 21st Century
Northwestern Memorial opens $580 million facility.

Northwestern Memorial Hospital took a giant step into the future last spring, opening a new facility that catapults the institution into the top ranks of medical care.

First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton joined Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley; Northwestern Memorial president and CEO Gary Mecklenburg (WCAS68) and University officials at an April 14 dedication ceremony.

"The entire Northwestern community has contributed to this state-of-the-art facility, which will continue to push to new frontiers in health care," Clinton said.

The $580 million, 2-million-square-foot hospital, located on the Chicago campus, took 10 years of planning. Northwestern President Henry Bienen predicted the facility would become even more of a magnet than it already is for those seeking medical care. "Today is a great day for the city of Chicago, the state of Illinois and the nation because people from all over the country will come to be treated at this great institution," he said.

The design reflects the trend toward outpatient care but at the same time provides inpatients with first-class treatment and luxury. An eight-floor base of shared facilities connects the Reuben and Frances Feinberg Inpatient Pavilion and the Jack and Dollie Galter Outpatient Pavilion.

The Feinberg Pavilion contains 400 private regular-inpatient and 92 private intensive-care rooms. Every regular-patient room has a foldout couch for family members and art on the walls that was chosen for its healing properties.

Northwestern Memorial's new home also boasts 32 operating rooms with state-of-the-art equipment and filmless, digital technology that produces X-rays anywhere in the hospital within seconds.

The Galter Pavilion provides clinical space for 600 physicians. The Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation, the hospital's largest affiliated physicians group and a project partner, owns the top seven floors. In addition, nearly 200 private physicians are also headquartered in Galter.

The paramount consideration, however, is outpatient services. Patients now can see a physician, receive labwork and diagnostic tests, and even have an outpatient surgical procedure without leaving the building.

Northwestern Medical School was a major player in the planning. Dean Harvey Colten was delighted, pointing out that consolidating the services previously provided in 22 sites into one locus "gives us the opportunity to facilitate the concept that we focus on the treatment of patients as entire, distinct individuals."

The vacated space also provides opportunities for the hospital and the Medical School in the future. Soon, Colten reported, ground will be broken for a new research center to go up on the site of an old facility.

Taking Care of Business

The Kellogg Graduate School of Management has become a mover and shaker in the polls, jumping from a No. 6 ranking in U.S. News & World Report last year to No. 2 in 1999. Kellogg's marketing and executive MBA programs received first-place rankings, helping the school tie for second place with Harvard and Pennsylvania.

Business Week also ranked Kellogg the No. 2 business school in the country in the fall of 1998.

U.S. News' rankings of graduate and professional programs, released in March, placed Northwestern among the top 25 in the country in a variety of programs, including business, law, medicine, engineering and education.

Other Kellogg news:

  • This year is the 20th anniversary of the naming of Kellogg. In 1979, John L. and Helen Kellogg gave $10 million to Northwestern's Graduate School of Management.

  • Kellogg is partnering with the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School to establish a business school in Hyderabad, India. The Indian School of Business will offer a one-year master's program, executive education courses and a doctoral studies program. The school will open its doors in 2001.

  • Students in the first class of the Kellogg-Hong Kong University of Science and Technology International Executive MBA program graduated last spring.

  • The first class of the Otto Beisheim Graduate School at the Koblenz School of Corporate Management in Germany, which is affiliated with Kellogg, will receive International Executive MBA diplomas in September.

  • Graduation ceremonies for the second International Executive MBA class from the Recanati School of Business at Tel Aviv University are planned for October.

In 1990, Fred Groves (WCAS93), left, learned surveying from James Brown, professor of anthropology, at Northwestern's Archaeological Field School at Ottawa Trail Woods Forest Preserve in Cook County, Ill.

They Dig This Guy

Archaeologists usually study the generations of other civilizations. However, at a symposium that took place during the March conference of the Society for American Archaeology, 17 of them focused on their own generation of archaeologists, all trained by professor James A. Brown of Northwestern's anthropology department. The symposium featured testimonial after testimonial -- and more than a few reminiscences -- on Brown's influence and impact on his followers.

Brown, who has written six books and more than 60 articles and book chapters, also received the national Distinguished Service Award from the society for his outstanding service to archaeology. He was specifically cited for his archaeological excavations of the early Native American society called Mississippian.

"Jim Brown's excavations in northern Illinois have dramatically altered our conceptions about Upper Mississippian [culture] and have fueled new debates about ethnicity, ideology and power relations in the Midwest," said associate professor Robert Jeske of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, one of Brown's former students. "Interestingly, many of these 'new' ideas are heavily informed by concepts developed and published by Jim as long ago as 1961. His influence is truly pervasive."

Michael Vea

Kevin Barry, a WCAS junior at the time, makes good friends at New Orleans' Kingsley House Preschool during his alternative spring break.

A Break from Spring Break

For his spring break in March, Michael Vea, a sophomore in the School of Education and Social Policy, had other concerns than the strength of his sunscreen or the tint of his shades. "I didn't know how to act around children with various disabilities," he says. "I knew I'd be immersed in a new environment, and I'd have to figure out for myself how to interact with the kids."

Instead of Cancun, Vea hooked up with Alternative Spring Break to work with disabled children at a residential school in rural New Hampshire. ASB is a student-run organization that sends Northwestern undergraduates all over the country to volunteer for everything from tutoring children to assisting the elderly to heavy rehab labor. When it started at the University in 1995, ASB sent 15 students to one site. This past year, the organization assigned 276 students to 20 sites.

In one low-income Cleveland neighborhood, sophomore David Monroe's group helped out in a soup kitchen, a nursing home, a Head Start center and a community theater. The experience "opened our eyes on issues such as gentrification and the importance of community in solving social problems," he says.

Journalism freshman Gretchen Ruethling spent her week helping to paint run-down trailer homes in West Virginia. At first, she felt the group wasn't really doing that much, until she met an elderly woman who lived in one of the houses. "She told us we were the best medicine she could ever have," Ruethling says.

"Going for one week did a lot for the kids we worked with, but it helped the Northwestern students immensely," says site leader Jennifer Chang, a junior who also helped tutor disabled children. "ASB encourages people to take time out of their lives."

That Beloved Color Purple

Make that Professor Winfrey, if you please.

Starting this fall, students in the Kellogg Graduate School of Management will get pointers about business leadership from one of the biggest success stories around -- talk show host Oprah Winfrey.

She and her fiancé, Stedman Graham, a successful businessperson in his own right, will jointly teach a course called Dynamics of Leadership. Graham is already a Kellogg adjunct professor and lectures on sports marketing.

"She's one of the leading women in business," says Kellogg assistant dean Richard Honack, citing Winfrey's success with Harpo Studios as a big motivation for inviting her to lecture.

Harpo (the reverse spelling of Oprah) Entertainment Group is located on Chicago's West Side and in a few short years under Winfrey's leadership, has become a powerhouse producer of films and videos. Forbes magazine recently reported that Winfrey is this country's fourth-highest-paid entertainer, earning approximately $125 million a year.

Virtual Understanding

Physicians, medical students and other health professionals recently experienced for themselves the debilitating fatigue that 78 percent of all cancer patients endure during chemotherapy.

A virtual reality technology, "In My Steps," simulates the exhaustion and frustration associated with cancer fatigue. The program is intended to help clinicians and caregivers understand the frequently overlooked symptoms of fatigue in cancer patients.

To experience "In My Steps," the user wears a headset over his or her eyes and ears and views a video that reveals a simulated home. Using foot pedals, the user is guided around the house to perform simple tasks that become increasingly challenging and tiring. According to the report, 60 percent of doctors who have gone through the simulation say they plan to alter their treatment of fatigue caused by anemia in cancer patients.

Saving Lives

Medill professor David Protess and five students from his investigative reporting class received the Illinois Attorneys for Criminal Justice (IACJ) Advocate's Award for helping prove death row inmate Anthony Porter's innocence last spring. Undergraduates Shawn Armbrust, Erica LeBorgne, Tom McCann, Syandene Rhodes-Pitts and Cara Rubinsky all contributed to help free the wrongfully convicted man.

The IACJ is an organization of public defenders and private defense attorneys dedicated to the protection of citizens' constitutional rights. Paul Ciolino, a private investigator who worked with Protess and the students, and Porter's lawyer, Daniel Sanders, were also given the IACJ award.

  • In other Medill news, in 1998-99, the school and its students won $39,000 in the Hearst Foundation's Journalism Awards Program, considered the Pulitzer Prize of college journalism.

Michael Gottlieb (WCAS99), left; debate coach Scott Deatherage; and Ryan Sparacino, then a junior in Speech, were key to the debate team's winning ways.

(Photo by Jill Harrington)

Absolutely No Debate Here

Don't tangle with these guys. Once again, Northwestern's top-seeded debate team defeated second-seed Emory University in the finals of the National Debate Tournament, held in March.

Northwestern set an unprecedented record with its 10th NDT win, this time under the leadership of undergraduates Michael Gottlieb and Ryan Sparacino. The two Northwestern debaters won all eight preliminary rounds, with 23 of 24 ballots from the three judges in each match, and all four elimination rounds, on unanimous 5-0 decisions. They are only the fourth pair in the NDT's 53-year history to place first in consecutive tournaments. Three of those who placed first previously were from -- where else? -- Northwestern University.

Getting that Big Break

The Northwestern Talent Association aims to help Northwestern undergraduates break into the entertainment industry without even having to take the red-eye to the coast. The NTA, founded last spring by Randy Zamcheck, a junior in the School of Speech, is assisting future performers, screenwriters and models by marketing student talent and offering workshops on the business of show business.

The driving force behind NTA is to lessen the disadvantages of Northwestern's Midwest location. The association has made contacts with Los Angeles-based agencies through University alumni and will send students' résumés, head shots and reels to these contacts. "We can't guarantee that someone's going to get signed by an agent, but we can guarantee that they will be seen," Zamcheck told the Daily Northwestern.

Students enjoyed a Passover meal last spring shortly after the new Hillel opened.

(Photo by Brian Kersey)

Divine Intervention

For all of his 18 years as head of Northwestern's Hillel program, Rabbi Michael Balinsky must have felt at times like he's wrestled with the Almighty -- not to mention earthbound forces -- for a new building, but now a dream has come true with the opening of the Louis and Saerree Fiedler Hillel Center.

The handsome red brick facility at 629 Foster St. is, for the first time in recent memory, next to the University campus, making it far more convenient for the 1,800 people each year who use the Hillel. "This moves us from a C- address to an A location," says Balinsky.

In addition to space that allows for several prayer services at the same time, the new $2.5 million Hillel offers a multimedia center, a lounge with laptop hookups, a spacious dining room and a sunny library room.

Although a new Northwestern Hillel center has been talked about for 20 years, serious discussion did not start until about three years ago. The center was a project of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago/ Jewish United Fund in partnership with Hillels of Illinois.

Game Winners

They might not make the Rose Bowl or the Final Four, but Northwestern's sports teams are winning just the same. According to the 1998 NCAA Graduation Report, based on students entering in the 1991-92 school year, Northwestern ranks highest in student-athlete graduation rates in the Big Ten and in the top 10 nationally.

The NCAA calculates that 92 percent of Northwestern athletes received diplomas, 2 percent higher than the graduation rate of the entire student body.

Campaign Northwestern

Standing outside the new Pritzker Legal Research Center at the dedication ceremony are Thomas Pritzker, president of Hyatt Hotels Corp.; University President Henry Bienen; Cindy Pritzker, widow of Jay Pritzker, holding up a replica of the Pritzker bookplate; and David Van Zandt, Dean of the School of Law.

(Photo by Jim Ziv)

Campaign Northwestern
Pushing Toward the Goal Line

Campaign Northwestern is marching steadily down the field to the end zone -- a $1 billion goal to advance the University into the loftiest ranks of American higher education -- but the clock shows there's plenty of time for contributors to get into the game.

According to the most recent accounting, approximately $766 million has been raised or committed to a wide array of Northwestern projects. The campaign was unveiled publicly in spring 1998 and continues to the year 2003.

"This rate of progress is the strongest indication of just how important a role Northwestern plays in the lives of alumni, friends, the business world and others," said University President Henry Bienen.

Thanks to the Pritzker Foundation, the Northwestern University School of Law is covering a huge amount of ground toward achieving its $60 million goal in the campaign.

In the spring, Pritzker family members joined University and School of Law officials in dedicating the Pritzker Legal Research Center, made possible by a $10 million gift from the foundation.

Among those present was Cindy Pritzker, widow of Jay Pritzker (EB41, L47), who died last January. He was a distinguished businessperson, civic leader and lifelong philanthropist.

Also last spring, Miami Corp., the investment vehicle for the Deering family, donated $10 million as an unrestricted lead gift to benefit all Northwestern libraries.

The gift is the most substantial corporate donation at this stage of the campaign. Its size allows library officials not only to enrich existing collections but to establish new collections of similar magnitude and quality.

At the same time, the funds will expand collections that are more commonly used by undergraduates, graduate students and professors alike. Among those that will see immediate benefit from the Deering endowment are area studies, such as Latin American and Asian studies; ethnic studies; life sciences; economics; and political science.

Other campaign successes

  • Sanford R. Robertson and his wife, Jeanne Pollock (WCAS55) Robertson, contributed $1.5 million to endow a chair in music theater in the name of Sanford's father, Donald G. Robertson (WCAS13), who wrote the fight song "The Northwestern Push On Song," also called "Rise, Northwestern." The chair is currently held by Dominic Missimi, associate professor of theater and director of the music theater program. In addition, the Robertsons have committed $100,000 to the endowment of the Institute for Health Services Research and Policy Studies.

  • James (WCAS60) and Barbara Goldman (WCAS60) Schadt committed $1 million to establish a chair in their names in political science. The term professorship will be awarded on a rotating basis, enabling the Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences to attract or retain leading political science scholars.

  • With a $1 million gift, Richard L. Thomas, University trustee and retired chair of First Chicago NBD Corp., and his wife, Helen, established four fellowships a year in their name for the School of Music's most talented graduate students.

  • The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which has contributed close to $8 million in grants to Northwestern, made an $875,000 three-year grant for postdoctoral fellowships in the departments of classics, Hispanic studies, linguistics, religion, Slavic languages and literatures, and statistics.

  • On behalf of the Davee Foundation, Ruth Dunbar Davee (G37, 42) made a $675,000 endowment to the Evelyn Dunbar Memorial Early Music Festival, named in memory of her late sister, Evelyn Dunbar. Also a longtime supporter of the Medical School, Davee recently made a $600,000 gift to the school.

Times Past

Women in Willard Hall in 1957 hit the books.

Times Past
Date Jerks and Pizza Runs

Why don't today's Northwestern dorm dwellers wear a skirt and heels or a sweater and tie to dinner? Probably because T-shirts and boxer outerwear are more comfortable.

A panty raid? That's a new show on MTV, isn't it? Waiters in the cafeteria and housekeepers carrying in fresh sheets? Yeah, right.

Northwestern students in dormitories today and in the 1950s may be worlds apart in many ways, but actually they have more in common than they think.

Margo Brown (J59, G80), now assistant to the vice president for student affairs, remembers the dorms as places where some of her classmates would "waste away days on end. Some people whose majors I won't name had no work to do and would sit for hours playing bridge," she says. "Before dinner, after dinner and for as long as six or seven hours, they were playing bridge -- that was the thing to do back then."

Although Brown sees the students of today as "much more intense and focused on their careers," Katie Stearns, a senior and a residence hall coordinator, sees plenty of "constructive procrastination" from her classmates. "Now it's video games, computer games and the Internet," she says. "It amazes me that someone could sit in front of a video game for literally five or six hours on end. Don't they have any work to do?"

And then there's dorm food, the eternal complaint. A 1955 student housing guide calls the victuals at the all-female, all-freshman Willard Hall "the best on campus," with a waiter service "in true hotel style."

Mary Schuette (WCAS60) remembers it a trifle differently.

"Oh, the food was awful," she says. "The 'freshman 15' wasn't a myth. There were no light choices and they always served three starches. Students today have it a lot better; there are so many choices for them."

Nonetheless, sophomore Dan Unangst says similar things about the current dorm food scene. "It's convenient and there's variety, but nobody looks forward to eating there," he notes. Instead, late-night calls to local pizzerias usually make up for what the cafeterias lack.

However, in the 1950s -- in Willard at least -- there were some upsides to the dormitory dining halls. "There was this adorable Greek waiter at Willard who just about the entire freshman class dated," remembers Schuette. "If it weren't for him, a lot of people wouldn't have gone to the dining halls at all."

Despite certain similarities in attitude, though, the dorm experience in many other ways is quite different now compared to the time before the 1960s, says University archivist Patrick Quinn. "Life in those days was just much more formal," he says. "And dorm life at Northwestern certainly reflected that."

"Thursday night and Sunday noon dinners call for stockings, heels and a nice dress," the 1955 student housing guide states. "Slacks are OK at breakfast and lunch but never dinner; no need to mention that we dress for breakfast."

And no need to mention that any sort of formal dress is long gone. Pajamas at breakfast are a common sight.

Rooms in 1955 were cleaned once a week and clean sheets provided. Only common areas are cleaned by housekeepers today, and rooms are left for the students to deal with.

As for leaving the dorms, women before the mid-1960s had to be back home by 1 a.m. on weekends and by 10 p.m. on weekdays. Violators could be in for a "date jerk," essentially being grounded by the dorm master. "It was very strict," says Brown. "If you were even 15 minutes late, you wouldn't go out the next weekend."

Today, of course, curfews don't exist for men or women. It is also commonplace to have a member of the opposite sex as a next-door neighbor. And panty raids, which Quinn reports were the rage in the 1950s, would be politically incorrect today, to say the least.

One thing that hasn't changed, though, is the student love for the warm spring sun after a brutal Evanston winter. "Willard has the largest sun deck on campus, and you can spend a fine afternoon getting tan and chatting with the girls," the 1955 housing guide boasted. "Beware of that first sunburn, however!"

-- Ed Fanselow (J02)

Sesquicentennial News

Sesquicentennial News
The Plot Thickens

We've got the writer, we've got the producer, and, before too long, we'll be wheeling up to the curb for the premiere.

Yes, it's Evanston, not Hollywood, but the Sesquicentennial office is hard at work to make Northwestern's 150th anniversary a celebration of the highest order of excellence.

Chicago author Jay Pridmore has been commissioned to write the history of Northwestern. He has considerable experience in writing institutional histories, having completed two books on the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry and several on corporations, family businesses and biographies. He also covers museums for the Chicago Tribune.

The story of the University's founding and development over the past 150 years will be combined with photos and memorabilia culled from the archives and from alumni. The book will be available by fall 2000.

The University has also hired producer Scott Craig to tell the Northwestern story. In 1996, he wrote and produced Northwestern: The Season to Remember, a 60-minute documentary on NU's Rose Bowl football team, which aired on Chicago's public TV affiliate.

The Sesquicentennial video will include current and archival photos of campus scenes and people, interview segments and perhaps even archival film or the home movies of alumni. The video will be shown at alumni club events around the country starting in mid-2000, and no doubt Hollywood publicists will lobby for an Oscar nomination by 2001!

Meanwhile, engineering undergraduates have helped design a 150th Web site to keep alumni informed via the Internet. Check it out (the address is And contact your local alumni club to get involved with the events.

Discussions have begun with the cities of Evanston and Chicago for joint programs with Northwestern.

Ideas currently being explored include holding an Evanston-to-Chicago campus sailboat race, dyeing the lagoon purple for a new Purple Pride Day, and hosting a campus/community ice cream social, complete with an enormous cake worthy of a 150th birthday party.

Gifts & Grants
NU Leads Diabetes Study

The National Institutes of Health will sponsor a global $9 million study to develop universal guidelines for the classification and dangers of gestational diabetes.

Boyd Metzger, Northwestern Medical School professor of medicine, will head the five-year project, and Alan R. Dyer, professor of preventive medicine, will lead the data coordinating center for the study.

The research will test whether hyperglycemia, or elevated blood sugar levels, during pregnancy increases risk of adverse maternal, fetal and neo-natal outcomes.

About 25,000 culturally and ethnically diverse women will be recruited from the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia as study participants.

Metzger, a leading authority on gestational diabetes, will direct the project at 16 medical centers around the world.

Tracking Welfare Reform

Three Chicago-area foundations are providing $1.3 million for the recently formed University Consortium on Welfare Reform to study the impact of new state welfare laws on former and current Illinois recipients and their families.

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation is funding the effort with $600,000, the Joyce Foundation with $500,000 and the Woods Charitable Trust with $200,000. Dan A. Lewis, a professor in Northwestern's Institute for Policy Research, will head the project.

The research is a collaboration between academics and state government to produce a multifaceted portrait of the effects of welfare reform at the state level.

Investigators will report annually for six years to the Illinois General Assembly on how 1,500 welfare recipients fared in efforts to find and retain jobs and reduce dependency on public aid.

Cardio Study: $8 Million

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute has designated the Medical School as one of six medical centers to study the factors and diagnostic tests that are the best and earliest predictors of cardiovascular disease.

The school will receive $8 million of a total $54 million for the 10-year project. About 6,500 participants between the ages of 35 and 84 will be recruited.

The principal investigator for the Chicago field center is Northwestern researcher Kiang Liu, professor of preventive medicine. His co-principal investigator is Philip Greenland, chair and Harry W. Dingman Professor of Preventive Medicine.

Wendy Lin, Stephen Meier, Kristin Thomas and Mike Zilinskas

Burn patient Iris Miller, left, and students Wendy Lin and Mike Zilinskas, who helped design Miller's customized wrist strap, appeared on Chicago television with newscasters Nesita Kwan and Allison Rosati.

Lab Notes
A Good Grip

The hard work of four undergraduates from the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science has allowed a burn victim to return to the game she loves.

Wendy Lin, Stephen Meier, Kristin Thomas and Mike Zilinskas, now sophomores, last year created a custom prosthetic device, a specialized wrist strap, that allows Iris Miller, who lost much of her right hand in a house fire, to wield a tennis racket. Miller was a client for the freshmen's class project in Engineering First, a 2-year-old program that gets students to think creatively as engineers while learning the fundamentals of math, physics, chemistry and computer science. The students' design, a Velcro and cloth brace, allows Miller to strap a racket securely to her forearm. "They sewed it by hand," she says. "There's a lot of dedication there." The students helped Miller learn to adjust and use the mechanism by playing tennis with her.

Getting Hyper

Supernovas, shmupernovas. Astronomers at Northwestern and the University of Illinois have identified the remnants of what they're calling hypernovas, explosions of two large stars that eons ago released 100 times more energy than a supernova. In fact, hypernovae may be the second-largest cataclysmic events after the Big Bang itself, which astrophysicists say gave birth to the universe.

Daniel Wang, a Northwestern research assistant professor of physics and astronomy, detected the two hypernova remnants in galaxy M101, which is 25 million light years away. "These are two of the most unusual remnants known," he says. "They must be from spectacular explosions."

Good News, Bad News

Northwestern University and University of Notre Dame researchers have discovered that alumina and other oxides commonly found in many soils can be combined with ionizing radiation to decompose such highly toxic wastes as dioxin and PCBs into simpler compounds. The downside, however, is that the same chemical reaction may hasten the deterioration in 177 storage tanks at eastern Washington's Hanford Nuclear Reservation, probably the nation's worst nuclear waste site.

"They're big cauldrons of radioactive soup," says Kimberly A. Gray, associate professor of civil engineering at the Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. "This research helps us understand the risks associated with stored radioactive wastes in places like Hanford."

The study indicates that radiation-induced breakdown, or radiolysis, could be useful for detoxification in both environmental and industrial settings. It has never been used for either one. The results were reported in the Journal of Physical Chemistry.

Bic Trick

Northwestern University researchers have transformed an atomic force microscope, a workhorse laboratory instrument, into the world's smallest and sharpest pen, able to draw lines just a few dozen molecules wide and one molecule thick.

The finding, reported in the journal Science, shows that the AFM can transfer molecules with extremely high precision onto substrate materials in a way that could be useful in the manufacture of nanoelectronic circuitry, which is 1,000 times smaller than microcircuits. Chad A. Mirkin, the Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor of Chemistry, who directed the study, and his researchers were able to draw, in a wide variety of patterns, lines as thin as 30 nanometers, or about one millionth of an inch.

Solid Research

There's more to a liquid than just liquid, say researchers, led by Pulak Dutta, professor of physics and astronomy, who for the first time directly observed that molecules of liquid close to a solid surface organize into layers much like a solid. "If you take a typical, garden-variety liquid, perfectly disordered -- then, when it starts flowing against a surface or being squeezed through pores, is it still a liquid?" Dutta asks. "What we've now shown is 'no.' It's one of these intermediate structures -- the molecules are somewhat ordered -- they're neither perfectly ordered nor disordered."

No Great Shakes

The New Madrid seismic zone south of St. Louis, which for decades has held out the possibility of a massive earthquake in the Midwest, may be less of a threat than previously believed. Research results, published in Science, indicate that the U.S. Geological Survey's seismic hazard maps should be revised.

"There is an earthquake hazard there -- it's not zero -- but it's much lower than the maps say," says Seth Stein, Northwestern professor of geological sciences and the leader of a multiuniversity study that used satellites to track ground motions in the seismic zone.

In 1811 and 1812, temblors of a high magnitude rocked the region and are still among the most severe in recorded history to have struck the continental United States. (They were said to have rung church bells in Boston) An event of similar force is unlikely to happen within the next 10,000 years, according to Andrew Newman, a Northwestern graduate student in geological sciences and lead author of the study.

Save the Children

Poverty in early childhood deeply affects achievement in later years, according to a study by Greg J. Duncan, deputy director of the Northwestern University/ University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research, and professors from University of Michigan, Columbia and Fordham universities. The analysis, published in the American Sociological Review, followed 1,323 children from birth to early adulthood.

To cite just one example of the effect of early poverty, a $400 change in a poor family's monthly income for the first five years of a child's life changes the odds of graduation from high school by an estimated 66 percent. "The good news from our study is that policies directed at young children cost less than policies directed at all children," Duncan says. "We need to do a better job of ensuring that young children are not exposed to spells of severe economic deprivation."

Bug Buster

Northwestern University Medical School researchers successfully used a new investigational drug, linezolid, in a patient with a severe bacterial infection resistant to all antibiotics. The positive results give hope to patients who are infected with a bacterium such as Enterococcus faecium, resistant to even the most potent antibiotics. Gary A. Noskin, an associate professor of medicine and infectious disease specialist, headed the study, while Pharmacia & Upjohn Co. of Kalamazoo, Mich., supplied the linezolid.

James Edward Avery, Karl de Schweinitz and George Howerton

James Edward Avery (WCAS71), 49, Northwestern's chaplain from 1973 to 1986, died June 6 in Chicago.

Respected as a minister and teacher, Rev. Avery had been a guest speaker and consultant at leading churches, universities and seminaries throughout the United States. During his tenure as Northwestern's chaplain, more than 40 students chose to pursue theological education and follow religious vocations.

Rev. Avery received a bachelor's degree from Northwestern in history (with honors) and studied theology at Princeton Seminary and Yale Divinity School. In 1975, he was ordained by the United Church of Christ.

Rev. Avery is survived by his parents, a brother, two nephews and a niece.

Karl de Schweinitz, 79, professor emeritus of economics, died April 17 in Evanston.

Mr. de Schweinitz taught in the economics department for 39 years, from 1949 until his retirement in 1988.

Known for his expertise in comparative economics, Mr. de Schweinitz became interested in later years in economic imperialism and wrote The Rise and Fall of British India: Imperialism As Inequality (Methuen Press, 1983), which is considered authoritative.

The popular teacher was director of undergraduate studies in his department for many years.

He is survived by his wife, Margery, and three daughters.

George Howerton (GMu50), 94, dean emeritus of the School of Music for 20 years, died April 8 in Salida, Colo.

After coming to Northwestern's music faculty as director of choral activities in 1939, Mr. Howerton began leading the University's a capella choir, which was heard on many programs broadcast nationally by the ABC, NBC and Mutual networks. While teaching at Northwestern, he received a doctorate in 1950.

Mr. Howerton was awarded a prestigious national Steinway Award in 1967 for his contributions to the field of music education.

His wife A'Louise died in 1992. Survivors include a sister and several nieces and nephews.