Board sets tuition rates, approves Ph.D. programs
Fifteen faculty members selected for tenure
The Board of Visitors set new tuition rates for the coming year, approved three new doctoral programs and granted 15 tenure appointments during a meeting of its Executive Committee April 1.
ODUs comprehensive fee (tuition and fees) for in-state undergraduates will increase by 6.6 percent in 2005-06, and rise 7 percent for in-state graduate students. (The new fee structure will go into effect with the 2005 summer term.)
Based on 30 credit hours, an in-state undergraduate will pay $5,614 next year, up from $5,268. The per-credit-hour fee will increase from $170 to $181.
ODUs 6.6 percent increase for in-state undergraduates is lower than that of three other state universities that have already set their fees: Virginia Tech, 9.2 percent; Norfolk State, 8.7 percent; and George Mason, 6.9 percent.
Adding a 3 percent rise in room and board, a full-time ODU in-state undergraduate would pay $11,590 next year, or 4.7 percent more than last years combined rate.
The comprehensive fee for in-state graduate students attending full time will be $6,496 per year, based on a 24-credit-hour load.
There will be a 4.8 percent increase in the comprehensive fee for both out-of-state undergraduate and graduate students.
Our recommendations reflected what we believed provided critical investments in new faculty and key infrastructure to accommodate enrollment growth and investments in the priorities of the strategic plan, yet acknowledging the importance of affordability for students, Robert L. Fenning, vice president for administration and finance, said after the meeting.
Of the institutions that have adjusted mandatory tuition and fees for fiscal year 2006, our increase is well below, plus we will make available more than $1.6 million of new campus-based and state financial aid resources for our neediest students.
In other action, the board approved add-ing doctor of philosophy degrees in English, education and health services research.
The Ph.D. program in English will explore the full range of written English through such modes of inquiry as rhetoric, composition, linguistics, literature and journalism, and through such media as print, speech and hypertext.
The programs in education and health sciences will be spinoffs of current Ph.D. degree programs in urban services, which have existed for more than 20 years and have become outdated.
President Roseann Runte gave a brief report about the issue of football. She noted that the response to a recent Alumni Association-sponsored survey has been overwhelmingly in favor of adding the sport, but she pointed out that there are both pros and cons to the issue.
She said the university plans to seek expert advice on the matter and will then draft a financial plan outlining what costs to expect if the board were to decide to add football. The plan should be ready for review at the boards June meeting.
The board approved the award of tenure to the following faculty, effective next fall:
The board also approved the appointment of Jie Chen, professor of political science and director of Graduate Programs in International Studies, as a Louis I. Jaffe Professor.
In other action, the board endorsed granting the title of emeritus to the following faculty (retirement dates are parenthesized):
A Minnesota native, Keillor began his radio career as a freshman at the University of Minnesota, from which he graduated in 1966. He went to work for Minnesota Public Radio in 1969, and on July 6, 1974, hosted the first broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion in St. Paul. The show ended in 1987, resumed in 1989 in New York as The American Radio Company, returned to Minnesota and in 1993 resumed its original name. Each week 2.6 million listeners on more than 450 public radio stations now hear the show.
Keillor also hosts a daily five-minute radio program, The Writers Almanac, is a frequent contributor to Time magazine and writes a biweekly column of advice to the lovelorn for Salon, an online magazine.
He is the author of 12 books, including Lake Wobegon Days (1985), Love Me (2003) and HomeGrown Democrat (2004).
Keillor has received numerous awards, including a Grammy for his recording of Lake Wobegon Days, two ACE Awards for cable television and a George Foster Peabody Award. In 1994 he was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame. He received a National Humanities Medal from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
With Philip Brunelle, Keillor has performed with many orchestras, including the Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas and National symphonies. He has appeared at Wolf Trap, Carnegie Hall and other concert halls as a member of The Hopeful Gospel Quartet, and he has performed in one-man shows across the country and on tour broadcasts of A Prairie Home Companion.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel, who was to have given a lecture series talk April 7, had to cancel due to a scheduling conflict. Back to top
Emeriti profs announce $100,000 gifts to capital campaign in support of biology program
Their names have long been synonymous with ODUs biological sciences department, and thanks to their recent gifts to the universitys capital campaign, their legendary contributions to the program will be felt for many years to come in yet another way.
Emeriti professors Daniel Sonenshine and Harold Marshall recently announced gifts of $100,000 each to fund a lecture series and scholarship, respectively.
The establishment of the Daniel E. Sonenshine and Helen N. Sonenshine Endowed Lectureship in Infectious Diseases is an outgrowth of Sonenshines own research interests. Not long after joining the faculty in 1961, he began his first tick research project here and has been involved in acarology, the scientific study of mites and ticks, ever since. His primary emphasis has been the study of tick-borne diseases.
Sonenshine noted that the lecture series, which could start as early as next fall, will cover the general area of infectious diseases.
The goal is to create a seminar series to attract top-notch speakers to stimulate our faculty and students with the most exciting work in this discipline thats going on, he said. Its a way of counteracting insularity, to look at the bigger, broader picture.
He envisions speakers giving general lectures for the community, in addition to more technical lectures and workshops for faculty and students in the biology program.
Sonenshine began his research on tick pheromones, tick immunity and tick-borne diseases in 1984. Patents have derived from his work and he is in the process of developing a tick decoy. His research and the publication of his definitive two-volume text, The Biology of Ticks (1991) and Dynamics of Tick-Borne Zoonoses (1993), have placed him among the worlds experts in the field of acarology.
During his tenure at the university, Sonenshine created a masters program and two doctoral programs, and received Virginias Outstanding Scientist award in 1994. He retired from teaching in 2002 but continues to conduct research and serve as director of ODUs Animal Care Facility.
Of his gift, he said: Ive had a more than 40-year association with the university. Im pretty much here every day doing research, so ODU is quite important to me.
Marshall, who came to Old Dominion two years after Sonenshine and retired in 1995, also has had a distinguished career that continues today in the form of research on phytoplankton and toxin-producing algae, most notably the fish-attacking microbe called pfiesteria, in Chesapeake Bay and Virginia rivers.
His gift of $100,000 will establish the Harold G. Marshall and Vivian J. Marshall Endowed Scholarship in Biology. The annual award will go to a biology graduate student whose concentration is ecology.
Marshall served as chair of the biology department for 21 years (1969-1990), during which it grew from seven to 26 faculty, with expanded graduate programs.
He has conducted research of phytoplankton ecology in the North Atlantic, equatorial Pacific and the Caribbean Sea, and this year received $337,000 in grant support for his latest research projects. He has received more than $5 million in research funding.
He is widely published (131 articles in scientific journals) and is past president of the Virginia Academy of Science.
Marshall, who guided the graduate research of 64 masters and doctoral students, is especially proud of an ongoing graduate student research exchange program in biology that he established and has supported over the past decade between ODU and Adam Mickiewicz University in Poland.
Asked about his gift to the capital campaign, he said, As a newly married college student, completing my graduate studies and earning a doctoral degree were made possible by the scholarships that I received. This scholarship program is our way of helping other students attain their academic goals. Back to top
The event, which costs $100 per person, includes green fees, cart, driving range balls, boxed lunch, dinner and beverages. Registration begins at 11 a.m., followed by a shotgun start at 12:30 p.m. The awards dinner and auction begin at 5:30. The fee is $25 to attend only the dinner and auction.
Larry will play one hole with each foursome, and ESPN 1310s Tony Mercurio will be on hand to broadcast from the course.
Proceeds from the event, sponsored by Scott & Stringfellow Inc., will benefit the womens basketball program. To register, call 683-5696; to donate items for the auction, call 683-3260.
Lady Monarch Pride also is sponsoring the Lady Monarchs Recognition Banquet at 6 p.m. April 20 in Webb Center. For tickets, call 683-5484 by April 18. Back to top
ODU employees contributed approximately $116,000 to the campaign, which raises money for charitable organizations and agencies. In addition to capturing the Education Secretariats top award, ODU was recognized as having the second-highest participation rate 42 percent of any agency or institution in the state with more than 1,000 employees. Back to top
ODU hits trifecta in March 16 USA Today
Readers of the March 16 USA Today had several opportunities to read some positive news about Old Dominion University.
The edition mentions the new required class for freshmen, New Portal to Apprecia-ting Our Global Environment, including a quote from President Roseann Runte, in the story, On campus, science embraces environmental ethics. It talks about colleges and universities that are using revolutionary approaches to environmental education.
Also in the issue is a story about Martha Stewart, which includes a quote from Brian Payne, chair of sociology and criminal justice. (Both Runtes and Paynes quotes are noted in the Newsmakers column on page 3.)
Finally, the March 16 USA Today sports section cover story features mens basketball player Alex Loughton as one of five star athletes from mid-major schools who were expected to make an impact in the 2005 NCAA tournament. Loughton, who is also pictured on the front page, was this seasons Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Year and earned Associated Press and Basketball Times All-America honorable mention honors. He scored 22 points and had 11 rebounds in ODUs first-round loss to Michigan State in the NCAA tournament. Back to top
Co-sponsored by the College of Business and Public Administration, the luncheon, scheduled for noon at the Sheraton Waterside Hotel in Norfolk, costs $30 for nonmembers. Reservations are required.
Elson was selected as one of the 100 most influential people in finance for the second consecutive year by Treasury Risk Management magazine. In 2002 he testified before the U.S. Senate on the role of the board of directors in the collapse of Enron Corp.
For more information or to make reservations, call 683-4058. Back to top
In the three poetry rounds, Richardson-Sims had a perfect score from the four judges in each section.
Seven members of the ODU debate/forensics team competed in the tourney, which was held March 16-19 at Webster University in St. Louis. The team also placed second in the Readers Theatre in its first competition.
Composed of two veterans and five novices, the ODU team won seven awards. Travis Mayes, a freshman political science major from Norfolk, received a superior in prose and an excellent in poetry.
Two other members of the team won excellent awards: Porsha Bond, a sophomore English education major from Virginia Beach, for poetry, and Jamie Walker, a senior psychology major from Hampton, for program of oral interpretation.
Seventy-two schools and 10 alumni chapters competed in the tournament. Back to top
The Hampton Roads community is invited to join the university in rallying for justice on the issues of domestic violence, sexual violence, sexual harassment, sexism and gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender concerns. Admission is free, but monetary donations, personal-hygiene items and canned goods will be accepted for local womens shelters.
International award-winning personal self-defense expert Kym Rock will open the event, and contemporary-folk musician Narissa Bond will perform.
Other community activists will take to the microphone throughout the event to present survivor stories, poetry and words of empowerment. Campus and community organizations will also host informational resource tables.
The trade mission is organized by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and is focused on developing trade opportunities with India.
Agarwal, a native of India, is a key member of ODUs Economic Forecasting Project. His research interests are in the area of applied economics. He has taught at Old Dominion since 1981. Back to top
Provost Thomas L. Isenhour announced the move in a March 30 letter to faculty. David has made more contributions to the administration of Old Dominion University over more years than we can begin to list, he said. At a recent SCHEV IPAC meeting (Virginia ProvostsAssociation), the provosts recognized and celebrated Daves contributions to education at the state as well as the local level.
Personally, nothing has been more important to me than Daves partnership and support as he served various roles in the administration. Virtually every individual at ODU has benefited from Daves activities.
He added that Hager will continue to oversee a limited number of administrative duties, including preparing SCHEV Outstanding Faculty Award nomination packages.
Dr. Hager is a highly respected member of the faculty and the administrative team at Old Dominion, said President Roseann Runte. He has served for many years with loyalty and dedication. He has worked with so many appointment committees, so many nominations and so many grant proposals that he is inextricably linked with the success and progress of our faculty. His meticulous attention to detail, his memory and his patience combine with a fine sense of humor and make him a fine colleague.
Hager, who joined ODU in 1969 as a professor of political science and geography, has held a variety of administrative posts since 1973, including department chair (1975-76), assistant dean of the College of Arts and Letters (1973-75) and dean of graduate studies (1976-81). He has been associate vice president for academic affairs since 1981, and has served as acting provost and vice president for academic affairs on five occasions, most recently in 2001-03.
Also in the letter, Isenhour announced that John P. Broderick, University Professor of English and Linguistics, will serve as acting vice provost in 2005-06. John is very knowledgeable about Academic Affairs due to his efforts in the recent SACS/COC reaffirmation of accreditation and in helping to develop the new strategic plan, he said.
Broderick, who joined the ODU faculty 30 years ago, served as acting associate vice president for academic affairs in 2001-02 and was a special consultant to the provost for strategic planning and scheduling in 2004-05. He currently is preparing a plan for coordinated scheduling across campus.
During the next academic year, John will do the development work for the creation of the University College, a key component in fulfilling the strategic plan, Isenhour said.
Old Dominion will conduct a national search in 2006-07 for the redefined position of vice provost and dean of the University College, Isenhour added. Back to top
ODUs participation in the National LambdaRail (NLR) project presents a unique opportunity for local researchers, making possible big science research, storage and visualization among and between ODU and the Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center an ODU research center in Suffolk and the College of William and Mary, NASA Langley Research Center, the Joint Training, Analysis, and Simulation Center and Jefferson Lab.
Jefferson Lab, W&M and NASA all were instrumental in helping bring the NLR hub to the region, ODU officials said.
In terms of broadening knowledge, we will look back and say this was an important building block not only in Virginias but also in mans expansion of knowledge, Gov. Mark Warner said at a ceremony on the UVa campus.
NLR connectivity puts ODU researchers at the same computational power-plane as every one else in the strongest research houses of this country, said Mohammad Karim, ODUs vice president for research. Our researchers, particularly in the arena of modeling and simulation, digital library, oceanographic studies, nuclear physics, and sensor fusion, will be able to interact and swap data and information with collaborators from almost anywhere in almost real-time.
When the network is completed this fall, it will allow supercomputers in multiple locations to operate like one machine, greatly increasing the available computing capability to gigabit and higher speeds. Researchers in different parts of the country will have a forum in which to do large-scale computing projects together.
To create the NLR backbone, regional nodes will be positioned in major urban areas to form a transcontinental network, with nodes in New York, Boston, Raleigh, Atlanta, Jacksonville, Dallas, Los Angeles and Seattle, to name a few. The node in Washington, D.C., passes through Northern Virginia and serves ODU, as well as Richmond, Charlottesville and Blacksburg.
With heated global competition, the United States is in a marathon race to maintain an edge in fundamental areas of research and innovation. NLR will provide critically needed high-speed network infrastructure for the next generation of research and goes beyond Internet and Internet2 technology.
Virginias research universities have formed the Mid-Atlantic Terascale Partnership (MATP) to sponsor location of an NLR node in the area, to facilitate access to it, and to strengthen collaboration for combining computational resources and application support.
The Virginia Tech Foundation, acting on behalf of MATP, is the NLR member representing Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. Each MATP participant will share a portion of the cost commitment made by the foundation to ensure location of an NLR node in the Washington area and access by area institutions. Back to top
Adam, known for his entertaining talks, is the author of the book Mathematics in Nature: Modeling Patterns in the Natural World, which was published by Princeton University Press in 2003.
Fliers announcing the luncheon and including a reservation form were scheduled to be distributed on campus this week. The luncheon, which will also include the presentation of the 2005 HACE Rookie and Staff Member of the Year awards and the installation of officers for 2005-06, is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Hampton/Newport News Room of Webb Center.
The cost of the luncheon is $10 for nonmembers and $8 for current members of HACE. It is recommended that the $5 membership dues for the coming year also be paid at this time. Back to top
Two ceremonies will be held: 9 a.m. for graduates from the colleges of Arts and Letters, Engineering and Technology and Sciences, and 2 p.m. for those from the colleges of Business and Public Administration, Education and Health Sciences. Speakers had not been announced by press time.
ODU will award an honorary degree to Timothy J. Sullivan, outgoing president of the College of William and Mary. Sullivan, who is stepping down June 30, has served as W&M president since 1992.
For more information call 683-3442. Back to top
He joined the Old Dominion faculty in 1955, was promoted to associate professor in 1964 and awarded the rank of full professor in 1965. He served as department chair from 1967 to 1973 and again from 1984 to 1990. He retired in 1992.
Jones taught courses in management and labor relations on both the graduate and undergraduate level. He was active as a labor arbitrator on the state and national level. He was also a captain in the USNRSC.
Jones, who was predeceased by his wife, Jane Miller Jones, in 1998, enjoyed traveling, golf and his many friendships during his retirement years.
Survivors include two daughters, Susan K. Jones and Katherine J. Long, both of Fairfax County, Va.; a brother, Walter B. Jones of Boston; and five grandchildren. He will also be remembered by his many friends, especially his closest companion, Doris Defibaugh.
Memorial donations may be made to the American Cancer Society, 2730 Ellsmere Ave., Norfolk, VA 23513. Back to top
In recent months, however, two Old Dominion physicists, working together with a colleague in Ireland, have made a significant contribution to understanding the helium atom. They have developed a theoretical model to explain physical results obtained in the 1990s by German physicists, but which heretofore had resisted explanation.
The GWW theory team the initials coming from the scientists last names is made up of Alex Godunov, ODU research assistant professor, Colm T. Whelan, ODU eminent scholar and chair of the physics department, and Professor H.R.J. Walters of The Queens University, Belfast.
Their work is likely to impact not only physics, but also chemistry and research in superconductivity.
The two bodies of the hydrogen atom a proton (or nucleus) and one electron have submitted to a solution, but the complications presented by a helium atom with one alpha particle (nucleus) and two electrons have not been overcome. For a crude analogy relating to the electrons, think of a mother facing the task of keeping track of two hyperactive children. Keeping an eye on one, while challenging, is possible. But add a second kinetic child to the brood and her task becomes overwhelming.
This is a very major result, said Professor J.H. McGuire of Tulane University, who is the chair of the Division of Atomic and Molecular Physics of the American Physical Society. The GWW theory from Old Dominion goes to the heart of the problem. The (German) experiments, which are state of the art, have resisted theoretical explanation for some time. This now opens useful, new possibilities for probing correlation in matter, a key, but difficult problem present in various areas of science.
Godunov and the leading German physicist involved in the experiments, Professor Horst Schmidt-Böcking of the University of Frankfurt, have been invited to present the findings at the April meeting in Tampa of the American Physical Society. Joint theory-experiment papers are in press.
The GWW theory arises from an approach that Whelan describes as orthogonal to the approaches tried by other scientists. Everyone else was trying to produce a model of the original Frankfurt data that could explain it in terms of correlation. Our idea was to assume correlation was the dominant effect, and then to develop the simplest model consistent with our understanding of the physics, and use it to predict where one might observe experimental effects, which would show an unambiguous dependence on these subtle correlation effects.
Schmidt-Böcking set out almost immediately to test the GWW theory, and the two teams worked in tandem. We supplied theoretical guidance, Whelan said. We took into account what the limitations of their experiments were and redid our calculations to fit within their constraints.
In the end, Whelan said, They found what we predicted, exactly where we predicted it.
The GWW paper is titled Fully Differential Cross Sections for Transfer Ionization A Sensitive Probe of High Level Correlation Effects in Atoms.
Correlation in matter is important in any system with more than two particles and where there is collective rather than independent particle behavior. Whelan said the task ahead for physicists is to see how far we can drive this, to look at different ways of describing a helium atom before moving on to other systems. Back to top
Now he has invented a type of ultraviolet lamp that is designed to be ultra efficient and can be used in numerous industrial applications. His patent, titled Electrode-less Excimer UV Lamp, was published in late February.
Laroussi, who also holds three patents in the field of plasmas and applications, was named in 2001, along with Karl H. Schoen-bach, eminent scholar of electrical and computer engineering, as being among the nations experts in cold plasma (ionized, or electrically charged gas). Plasma is called the fourth state of matter along with solid, liquid and gas. It is at work in fluorescent and UV lighting.
Another member of the ODU faculty, Fred Dobbs, associate professor of oceanography, worked with Laroussi to develop the process by which UV light could be used to kill harmful microorganisms imported in the ballast water of foreign ships. A goal of their work was to find an inexpensive way to kill the microorganisms before the ballast water is discharged into U.S. ports and other coastal waters. The work of Laroussi and Dobbs was funded by the National Seagrant College Program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Laroussis invention is a UV lamp with small, external ring electrodes. A disadvantage in the commercially available excimer lamps is that the outer electrode is a wire mesh that covers the cylindrical surface of the lamp, impeding the UV light. Also, the internal electrode contributes to contamination of the cylinders gaseous discharge, curtailing the life of the lamp.
Applications of the invention, other than for water purification, could be to disinfect surfaces, cure paint and ink, and modify the surface of polymers.
That tradition was carried on by their daughter, Jo Tabb Hayden, and son-in-law, Gary Hayden, for Buzzs 80th birthday on March 2 in the form of an original watercolor they commissioned, Daffodils for Buzz, by local artist Amy McKay.
Proceeds from the sale of signed and numbered limited-edition prints and note cards will benefit the John R. Tabb Scholarship Endowment, which was established following Tabbs death on Aug. 29, 2002.
The partial scholarship is set up to assist a full-time graduate student from the College of Business and Public Administration who is studying international economic development. The first award was made for the 2004-05 academic year, and the endowment is currently valued at just over $36,000.
This painting represents a love story, said Jo Hayden. My fathers annual birthday gift to my mother was a sweet and romantic gesture, and we thought this would be a fitting way to keep the tradition going. It also represents an opportunity to support the business school, to which he was devoted for so many years.
Tabb joined Old Dominion in 1955 as an associate professor of economics and was named first dean of the School of Business in 1958. He retired in 1993 after a career that encompassed both administrative work and classroom teaching, which was his lifelong passion.
Daffodils for Buzz can be ordered online at www.mckaywatercolor.com (click on Showcase, then Recent Commissions, then John R. Tabb Scholarship Endowment). A 17-inch by 24-inch high-quality print (13-inch by 20-inch image size) costs $100 and the 5-inch by 7-inch hand-mounted note card is $10. For each print sold, $50 will go to the Tabb scholarship fund; a $5 donation will be made for each note card sold. Both amounts are tax-deductible. A framed and matted version of the print (see photo on Page 2) is also available for $240, plus shipping and handling.
The symposium will feature strategic thinkers from academia, the military and the Supreme Headquarters, Allied Command Transformation, considering the unintended consequences and new challenges for militaries historically trained for other purposes and the many economic, political, religious, cultural and other factors which can shape the course of reconstruction in areas such as the Middle East and the Balkans.
Speakers include Ambassador Carlos Pascual, coordinator for the U.S. Department of States Office of Reconstruction and Stabilization, and Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Professor of Peace and Development at the University of Maryland.
Panel topics include Western Visions and Global Realities and a national perspective on NATO forces and capabilities.
To register or for more information, call 683-5759. Back to top
That could be one reason why so little has appeared on the stage and screen about the fate of those who were trapped and died in the World Trade Center. But the recent play Hole in the Sky, which makes its East Coast premiere April 15 at the Stables Theatre, helps fill this void.
The piece, by Emmy Award-winning writer Reed McColm and based on a concept by John Bidwell, imagines the lives of those who were in the Trade Centers North Tower when it was hit by a hijacked airliner that fateful morning. Stephen Pullen, a roommate of McColms at Brigham Young Uni-versity and an acclaimed writer and director in his first year on the ODU faculty, directs.
What we have seen has been highly emotional, but somewhat objective, Pullen said of media treatments of the attacks. This is very subjective. Whats universal is, what goes through your mind when you know that youre going to die?
The play draws on eyewitness accounts of those in the tower below where the airplane struck, as well as phone calls made by those trapped to their friends and relatives during the 102 minutes between the crash and the collapse of the building the same time period covered by the play.
As the play opens, we see the characters looking for a way to escape and interacting with one another in terms of leadership and frustration. The first act ends with the realization that theyre trapped. For the last 20-25 minutes of the play, the characters from major executives to a building maintenance man dwell on self-reflection, reconsidering their lives and realizing the important relationships they had.
For me, thats very gripping when, as human beings, we are placed in a situation that intense, Pullen said. Our humanity becomes laid bare.
He noted that Sept. 11 holds personal significance for assistant director Cortney Doucette, who was at a job interview in Manhattan that day and found herself among the throngs of people trying to get out of the city.
I think people are going to come away from this play with a sense of catharsis. They will experience these emotions and have a sense of mourning, Pullen said
Show times are 8 p.m. April 15, 16 and 20-23, and 2:30 p.m. April 17 and 24. General admission is $10; $5 for ODU students. For tickets call 683-5305. Back to top
Mon. & Tues., April 11 &12
Wed., April 13, to Sun., May 8
Thurs. to Sat., April 14-16
The Women Playwrights Initiative (WPI) has chosen Reynolds play for its second annual world premiere production. It will be performed Sept. 13-18 at The Reps Tupperware Theatre in Loch Haven Park, Orlando, Fla. Playwrights from nine Southeastern states submitted entries for the 2005 WPI competition.
An associate professor of English and the Ruth and Perry Morgan Chair of Southern Literature, Reynolds joined the ODU faculty in 1997.
As noted on her Web site, Orabelles Wheelbarrow is play about promises the ones we break, the ones we keep and the ones that transform into new promises, whether we want them to or not.
When the play opens, Leonas mother has just died, and shes left taking care of her dependent and emotionally unstable aunt and uncle. She wants to make a new life for herself, but feels weighed down by family obligations. Then her old friend Rubie shows up with her elderly grandmother, Miss Orabelle, in tow. Orabelle pushes a wheelbarrow everywhere she goes, and she claims that her wheelbarrow is full of broken promises. As Leona explores her own responsibilities to her aunt and uncle, Orabelle and her promises help Leona understand the nature of promises. Orabelle guides Leona as she decides which of her promises she can keep and which she will have to let go.
Throughout the play, promises leap out of Orabelles wheelbarrow or sometimes come crashing into it for monologues that illustrate or complicate key points.
Reynolds fourth novel, The Firefly Cloak, will be released next year by Harmony Books. Back to top
I had the privilege of traveling to Basqueland with the following students, who are enrolled in my spring-semester course, Linguistic Field Studies: Basque Language and Culture: Kim Sibson, Shari Henderson, Christen McLewin and Melissa Zimmerman (graduate students in the M.A. program in applied linguistics and TESOL); Natalie Diaz (M.F.A. candidate in poetry); undergraduate students Jennifer Spiegel (English linguistics), Nicole Brantley and Sarah Wishart (English literature), Juliet Welch (German), Victoria Winn (history) and Mark Santana (environmental engineering); and Josh Zimmerman (Melissas husband).
Basque is the oldest language in Europe and is not known to be related to any other human language. Its grammar is one of the most complex of any language. It is spoken in a mountainous region about the size of New Hampshire on the Atlantic border of Spain and France. The earliest Roman documents referring to the Iberian Peninsula refer to the Basques. Basque cultural artifacts, such as musical instruments made from mammoth bones, have been dated to more than 12,000 years ago.
The spring-break overseas component of the course was, in fact, a practicum in what it means to be alive on this planet and to participate in a human culture: what family and friendship are all about, and what role language plays in forming and maintaining human relationships.
We have, of course, done academic things in the course. Before we left, everyone had read Mark Kurlanskys book, The Basque History of the World, and had written six short papers about it. Students enrolled for three credits had written six additional papers about the structure of Euskara (the Basque language).
Everyone had memorized more than 40 Basque conversational expressions and had passed oral quizzes on them during our March 3 layover at the Philadelphia airport. But everything changed when we arrived in Hondar-ribia, a medieval fortress town and 19th-century fishing village on the Spanish Basque Atlantic Coast, across a narrow estuary from the French Basque town of Hendaye.
It was no longer about reading books, writing papers or studying for oral quizzes. It was now about real, flesh-and-blood people who were speaking Basque and living the Basque way of life. You see, Hondar-ribia is a town where everybody speaks Basque, where everybody knows everybody, and where everybody knew who we were and why we were there. We stayed in two quaint hotels the Palacete, a Renaissance-style former private residence, and the Obispo, a stone edifice that had been the bishops residence some centuries ago. Each of the staff in both hotels seemed to be somebodys cousin, or best friend or aunt.
The woman who made all of the arrangements for our program, Txaro Azkue, had, some years ago, sung in a choir with Elena Iguiñiz, who was our principal resource for learning about the Basque language. More recently, Txaro had been Elenas English teacher. Elenas elder daughter, Marta (a fourth-year medical student), was best friends with Maria, the desk clerk at the Palacete Hotel. Both Marta and her sister Elenita accompanied us on more than one outing.
Two other Marias, who are Txaros English students, also became involved in planning program events and hosting us. And so it went. In fact, any person with whom we used one of our Basque conversational expressions (egun on, good morning; kaixo, hello; agur, goodbye ...) would stop to converse in improvised sign language, if necessary and to learn more about us and about our lives. By the end of our stay, many lifelong friendships had been formed.
During the nine days we were in Euskal Herria (Basqueland), we rode by local bus to Donostia (San Sebastian), visiting its museum, aquarium, markets and cathedral; by chartered bus to Bilbo (Bilbao) to visit the architectural landmark Guggenheim Museum; and to the town of Gernika (Guernica), whose brutal bombing during the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s inspired Pablo Picassos masterpiece. There we saw the 300-year-old stump of one of the oak trees under which, for hundreds of years, Spanish kings granted the Basque people special rights and independence, and also watched a jai-alai game in the fronton and practiced one-on-one with the jai-alai coach afterward.
On another day we took a train to the rural village of Lazkao and visited the premiere library of the Basque region, where the librarian, Father Juan Jose Agirre, a Benedictine monk, allowed us to hold in our hands the oldest Basque grammar, published in 1729, and a book published in 1478 (an incunabulum). In Lazkao we were also hosted for lunch and a tour at a barnetegi, a live-in total immersion Basque language school for adults.
We enjoyed a wonderful dinner at the home of our Basque teacher, Elena Iguiñiz, and her husband, Jose Angel Intxausti. On another day we participated in a winter cultural ritual at a rural sidreria (cider house), testing the new years apple cider directly from more than a dozen giant casks. Between visits to different casks, we stood at tables to eat, first, cod omelet with bread, then grilled cod with sautéed green peppers, then thick rare steaks and finally, quince jam, manchego cheese and walnuts. By the end of the evening we were standing in circles, singing Basque songs, and applauding Marta and one of the Marias as they danced an impromptu Basque folk dance.
Earlier in the week, we had traveled by a boat taxi to Hendaia (Hendaye), France, and earlier on the day of our visit to the sidreria, we had driven through picturesque mountain villages in French Basqueland where, in shops and bakeries, we interacted with speakers of the distinctive northern dialects of Basque. We also visited the coastal French Basque towns of Miarritze (Biarritz) and Donibane Lohitzun (Saint-Jean-de-Luz).
Every person who participated in the program was affected in her or his own special way. I had the wonderful good fortune of having several of my students transformed into surrogate family members, and of expanding and deepening the circle of what truly has now become to me my Basque family in Hondarribia.
There is an expression that I first heard in French and which can be translated into English as follows: A person who knows two languages is as good as two people. Even though many of us on the trip know Spanish or French or both, and used them to expand and deepen our interactions with the Basque people we met, we all came back with at least the seed of yet another self our Basque self germinating in our souls. Back to top
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