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Fossil Find

Looking through a trove of freshly collected fossils at a museum in China, the Biology Department’s Shundong Bi discovered a specimen that implies mammals originated at least 215 million years ago, 50 million years sooner than scientists had thought. Captured in rock was the skeleton of a haramiyid that Bi said may have looked similar to a squirrel with a prehensile tail. His research team’s findings were published in “A New Arboreal Haramiyid Shows the Diversity of Crown Mammals in the Jurassic Period” in the August 8 issue of Nature. Read more at the IUP Research website.

Writing Center Naming

The IUP Writing Centerwill be renamed for the late Kathleen Jones White ’56, a former dean, following the establishment of a $200,000 endowment by her husband, David. He made an additional gift of $10,000 to enable peer tutors at the Writing Center to attend conferences. Kathleen White joined the Home Economics Department in 1968, was instrumental in establishing the Consumer Sciences Department in 1971, and became dean of the School of Home Economics in 1972. A professor emerita, she retired as dean of the College of Human Ecology in 1985. David White said his wife’s love of reading and writing is what influenced his support of the Writing Center.

Arbitration Leader

IUP Distinguished University Professor Don McPherson ’69 M’71 has been elected vice president of the National Academy of Arbitrators, the leading professional and honorary organization of labor and employment arbitrators elected to membership from the US and Canada. He has been practicing as a labor arbitrator since 1981. A professor emeritus, McPherson is a founding member and former chair of the Employment and Labor Relations Department. He is a past president of the IUP Alumni Associationand a Distinguished Alumni Awardrecipient. He and his wife, Linda Leighty McPherson ’69 M’76, professor emerita of English, retired from IUP in 2004. They live in Indiana.

Claude Mark Hurlbert

Top Professor

Englishprofessor Claude Mark Hurlbert was ranked eighth in the national listing of top professors on RateMyProfessors.com. The website includes ratings, entirely by students, of professors from more than 7,500 schools. In 2012, Hurlbert was one of four IUP faculty members selected for the Princeton Review’s “The Best 300 Professors.”

His Life’s Work

Twenty-five years after Robert Ackerman founded the Mid-Atlantic Addiction Research and Training Institute, his colleagues presented him with a lifetime achievement award. Ackerman helped to establish MARTI as a premier continuing education program provider on behavioral health issues involving high-risk children and their families. An IUP Distinguished University Professorand Distinguished Faculty Award recipient, Ackerman now teaches at the University of South Carolina at Beaufort.

A Transplant’s Story

Now making his home on the New Hampshire Seacoast, Gary Patton, professor emeritus of Psychology, wrote a book of essays and short stories reflecting his sometimes awkward experiences adapting to his new environment. Outtastatahs: Newcomers’ Adventures in New Hampshire was published by Piscataqua Press and is available through Amazon.com and other sources. A Patch blogger and former Hampton Union columnist, he lives in Hampton with his wife, Lenore Patton M’78.

Hall of Famer

A professor emeritus of Music, Gary Olmstead was one of four percussionists inducted into the Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame in November during the group’s annual international convention in Indianapolis. Olmstead was recognized for building IUP’s percussion studio “from a nascent program to a leading educational organization.” He has performed with the Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra and the Pittsburgh Symphony Chamber Orchestra and has recorded with the Cleveland Orchestra under the direction of Lorin Maazel. Olmstead was president of PAS for five years. He lives in Indiana with his wife, Michelina Zoffuto Olmstead ’73, M’79.

“Wild” Theory

When retired IUP Librariesemployee Ronald Hamilton revealed his theory on the death of Into the Wild’s Chris McCandless, it got the attention of the book’s author, Jon Krakauer. In a New Yorker blog post, Krakauer wrote that Hamilton had suspected the wild potato seeds McCandless had been eating contained the same amino acid responsible for paralysis among prisoners in a World War II concentration camp. Hamilton even enlisted the help of the Chemistry Department’s Jonathan Southard and Cook Honors Collegestudent Wendy Gruber Clawson ’04 to do some initial tests. After reading about Hamilton’s work, Krakauer sought further testing that revealed the seeds contain the amino acid at levels potentially crippling in the absence of proper nutrition. He wrote that Hamilton’s discovery “appears to close the book on the cause of McCandless’s death.” Hamilton now lives in New Mexico.

Faculty Deaths

In recent months, the following former faculty members died.

  • Sheila Barlow M’86, who retired in 2005 as an associate professor of nursing after 10 years in the department, died July 23, 2013.
  • Jessie Bright, a professor emerita who retired in 1990 after 23 years with the English Department, died June 13, 2013.
  • Wendy Carse, who retired in May after 21 years in the English Department, died July 29, 2013.
  • Thomas Dongilla ’58, a professor emeritus who retired in 1986 after 24 years with the Art Department, died August 1, 2013.
  • Samuel Hoenstine ’38, a professor emeritus who retired as director of Career Services in 1977 after 26 years with the university, including many years at Keith School, died September 12, 2013. He was also a member of the IUP Athletics Hall of Fame.
  • Wanda Rife, who retired from the IUP Libraries in 1990 after 29 years of service, died September 30, 2013.

More from the Fall-Winter 2013 Issue of IUP Magazine

Surviving the Storm

Surviving the Storm

As shrinking high school class sizes take their toll on student enrollment, IUP must rely on innovation to weather the challenge

Homecoming, 80 Years Later

Homecoming, 80 Years Later

As thousands of alumni returned to campus in October to celebrate Homecoming 2013, they continued a tradition that has spanned eight decades

Message from the President

Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?

Namedroppers | Achievements

Photo Gallery | Letters to the Editor | In Brief

Taking It in Stride

Junior Caitlin McCabe, a member of the IUP Color Guard, starts to get her gear together for the IUP Marching Band: her uniform, her flag—and her prosthetic leg

Dr. Rock

Mike Barnett came to IUP to grow musically. Twenty years later, the CU-Boulder faculty member has enlisted the help of an IUP mentor on his latest project—a fusion of metal, rock, and jazz


Women are no longer outsiders in distance running, even in races beyond 100 miles, due in part to the trailblazing Marcy Schwam