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University briefs

ECE dept. chair steps down

April Brown, chair of the electrical and computer engineering department, has decided to forego her last year and a half at the helm of the department.

She will instead focus on teaching and research aspects of the program, Pratt School of Engineering Dean Kristina Johnson announced Monday.

Brown, who has chaired the department for the past four years, will be succeeded by electrical and computer engineering and biomedical engineering professor Hisham Massoud.

Massoud will finish Brown's term, which ends June 30, 2007.

Students win Moot Court contest

Representatives from the School of Law brought home first-place honors from the 56th Annual National Moot Court Competition held Feb. 2 at the New York City Bar Association.

Team members included third-year law school students Audry Casusol, April Nelson-who was also named runner-up in the Best Speaker competition-and Sara Wickware.

The Duke team beat out representatives from 28 other law schools, including the University of Memphis Law School, which won second place.

The Duke team also won Best Brief honors.

The American College of Trial Lawyers, a "national organization composed of approximately 2,000 of the leading advocates in the United States," and the New York City Young Bar Association's Young Lawyers Committee co-sponsored the event.

Scholars commemorate Howard

This week marks the inaugural Reginaldo Howard Commemoration Week, an event organized by the Reginaldo Howard Scholars and held to honor the legacy of the University's first African-American president of the student body.

The festivities began Feb. 5 with a service in the Chapel Loft of the Duke Chapel, featuring a sermon by English professor Maurice Wallace and musical selections from gospel choir United in Praise. The week will conclude with the presentation of a plaque to Howard's family in the Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture Feb. 11 at 6 p.m.

The Duke community began celebrating the memory of Howard in 2004 with the inaugural Reginaldo Howard Commemoration Day. Since that time, the ceremonies have evolved into a week-long series of events in honor of Howard's contributions to the University.

Howard, who is remembered for his scholarship and integrity, was elected president of the Associated Students of Duke University in 1976 but was tragically killed in a car accident before he had the opportunity to take office officially. That same year, his family established a scholarship fund in his honor.

Recent alum to talk about trek

Andrew Skurka, Trinity '03, will give an inspirational talk highlighting his time spent traversing the continent Thursday Feb. 9 at 7:00 p.m. in the McClendon Tower Media Room.

In July 2005, Skurka became the first person to walk a certain 7,778-mile coast-to-coast route from Cape Gaspe in Quebec, Canada to Cape Alava, Washington.

Nasher hires contemporary art curator

Officials at the Nasher Museum of Art have appointed Trevor Schoonmaker as the first curator of contemporary art, museum director Kimerly Rorschach announced Monday.

Schoonmaker, a North Carolina native, has curated major contemporary art exhibitions in New York and other cities around the world during the past six years. His responsibilities at Nasher will involve organizing new exhibitions and programs and taking the initiative in selecting works of contemporary art for the museum's permanent collection.

Schoonmaker will begin his position in July and will organize his first contemporary art exhibition for Nasher next winter.

Duke-UNC game to air in Cameron

Campus Council, the Inferno and the Duke Alumni Association is sponsoring a massive viewing of the 9:00 p.m. men's basketball game at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Cameron Indoor Stadium Tuesday.

The rivalry game will be projected onto two giant screens, and organizers have planned several festivities for the occasion, including a "Rock Lobster" Contest and several raffles with prizes. The doors to the stadium will open at 8:30 p.m.

A free, public screening of a new 13-minute film about the work of renowned conservationist and Duke professor Stuart Pimm will take place Wednesday, Feb. 15, at the Nasher Museum of Art at 7:30 p.m.

"Disappearing Worlds: A Scientific Adventure Story," chronicles Pimm and his students on a recent expedition to the Amazon to study endangered bird species that inhabit patches of jungle threatened by logging and other human activities.

The program is hosted by Duke Magazine, in partnership with the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences at Duke. Pimm is the Doris Duke Professor of Conservation Ecology at the Nicholas School.

Documentary filmmaker Peter Jordan, a 2001 graduate, accompanied the team on the Amazon trip.

Robert Bliwise, editor of Duke Magazine, will introduce the film and provide an overview of the project. Pimm and his students will field questions from the audience after the film screening.

Professor to lead national ecological society

Norman Christensen, professor of ecology and founding dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences at Duke University, has been elected president of the 9,000-member Ecological Society of America (ESA), beginning August 2006.

The ESA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization of scientists founded in 1915 to promote ecological sciences and raise policymakers' and the public's awareness of the importance of ecology in everyday life.

Christensen recently completed a three-year term as the ESA's vice president for finance in 2005.


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