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•  By Tom Nugent

Alumni Newsmakers Class of 1955

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Taking GW Hoops to the Next Level | GW Names New VP for Advancement | Testing the College Waters | GW on Television | Commencement Countdown | Toast of the Town | The Changing Face of Campus Cool | Fire Brings Neighbors Together | Pharmacogenomics: Individualizing Drug Therapy | Learning the Ropes | Chalk-In Day | Cherry Blossom Princesses | Faculty Focus: When the Waters Went Down | George Welcomes | The Mexican 'Mother Culture' | At a Glance | GW in History | A Faculty for Writing

At a Glance

Homeland Security Grant

In November, GW and George Mason University received a $2 million competitive grant from the Department of Homeland Security to create training sessions for nursing professionals across the United States. The purpose of the program is to prepare nursing professionals to respond to victims of an event involving weapons of mass destruction and to increase their awareness of specific weapons of mass destruction risks, vulnerabilities, and response requirements.

Taiwan Studies Center

As part of its efforts to reinforce research on Taiwan’s history and modern developments, GW inaugurated the Taiwan Studies Resource Center in December. The center, which collects Chinese and English books and periodicals, is linked to Taiwan’s major academic institutions through the Internet. The opening ceremony was attended by David Ta-wei Lee, the Republic of China representative to the United States. Lee said that in addition to serving GW students, he hopes the center will become a U.S. think tank and information center for U.S. authorities.

GSEHD Dean Honored

Graduate School of Education and Human Development Dean Mary Hatwood Futrell was named the United States Laureate of the Jan Amos Comenius Medal in September. She was presented with the award at the International Conference on Education in Geneva, Switzerland. Given by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization and the Ministry of National Education, Youth, and Sport of the Czech Republic, the award recognizes outstanding achievements in teaching and educational research.

Advancing the Arts

Dana Tai Soon Burgess & Company, a contemporary dance troupe founded by assistant professor of dance Dana Tai Soon Burgess, received the 2005 Mayor’s Arts Award for Excellence in an Artistic Discipline in February. In March, the company traveled to Riga, Latvia, to perform the program Tracings, which they also will present to New York’s Asia Society in May.

Women Engineers

GW’s School of Engineering and Applied Science ranked first in the nation in the percentage of doctoral degrees awarded to women, according to 2003 statistics released in November by the American Society for Engineering Education. GW and the University of Illinois at Chicago tied for the top slot, with women representing 31.4 percent of the students who received engineering doctoral degrees from each university in 2003. The University ranked 10th in the nation for its percentage of women faculty members, with women making up 13.3 percent of the SEAS faculty.

Police Science Program

GW’s College of Professional Studies has started a new Police Science Undergraduate Certificates, Associate’s and Bachelor’s Degree Program. The program is the result of a year-long collaboration with metropolitan-area law enforcement experts and police specialists. Students entering the program will receive a newly chartered GW Walter Washington Scholarship for Police Professionals, a 50 percent reduction in the current undergraduate tuition rate.

Top 25 Rankings

In the April “America’s Best Graduate Schools” issue of U.S. News & World Report, GW Law School and the Graduate School of Education and Human Development—as well as graduate programs in law and business—were ranked among the top 25. The Law School ranked 20th out of 179 accredited law schools, and GW’s intellectual law program was named third in the nation. The environmental law program was ranked 10th, and the international law program ranked ninth. The clinical training and tax law programs also were named in the top 25. GSEHD maintained its position as 24th out of the 190 schools listed in the survey, 10th among private institutions. The School of Business’ international business program was ranked 25th. And the Financial Times recently included the full-time MBA program in its top 100 list.

Hookworm Vaccine

In October, the Sabin Vaccine Institute, sponsor of research funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on a newly developed vaccine to prevent hookworm disease, signed a memorandum of understanding with federal and state vaccine production facilities in Brazil for clinical developments of the vaccine, including clinical trials. In the fall, representatives from the institute and GW, where research on the vaccine is under way, visited the research and production plants affiliated with the Brazilian government. Hookworm is a public health threat in Brazil, where there is still a high incidence of the disease.

GW in History

25 Years Ago

In honor of Melvin Gelman, BA ’40, the Gelman Foundation presented the University with a $1.5 million naming gift for the University library. The building was officially named the Melvin Gelman Library on May 14, 1980. According to the GW Times, former GW President Lloyd H. Elliott said the members of the University community were “especially grateful that the Gelman family has chosen an endowment for our library—the heart of the University—to symbolize the family’s ties over the years with this institution.”

50 Years Ago

In May of 1955, ground was broken for the Tompkins Hall of Engineering, located on 23rd Street between G and H Streets. The building was a gift of Charles H. Tompkins, DE ’46, who was then a member of the GW Board of Trustees. The ceremony was attended by former dean of the School of Engineering Martin A. Mason, former GW President Cloyd H. Marvin, and former president of the Board of Trustees Robert V. Fleming.

100 Years Ago

A 1905 issue of the GW Hatchet reports that 11 members of the Medical Class of 1900, who originally called themselves the “Hippocrates Club” during their student days, reunited after “the old fraternal spirit drew them together again,” forming the Hippocrates Medical Society. Meeting twice a month, the club “gave to these young doctors an organization for the further study and discussion of medical matters; a true post graduate school in which they were themselves both faculty and student body.”

The Magazine gratefully acknowledges the assistance of University Archives in the identification of interesting historical information. Readers wanting to learn more about GW’s history can find the University Archives Web site by accessing The site’s Historical Almanac is especially informative.