Harsha Abeyaratne performs benefit piano concert in Sri Lanka
Muskingum University Associate Professor of Music Harsha Abeyaratne earned critical praise for a benefit concert he performed in his native Sri Lanka this summer.
The performance took place in July at the Lionel Wendt Theatre in Colombo and proceeds benefitted Project Joy, an effort to establish a children’s epilepsy unit at the Lady Ridgeway Hospital in Colombo. The brainchild of Dr. Sandy Warran, a pediatric neurologist in New Jersey, the unit would be unique in its ability to provide early diagnosis and intervention for very young children with symptoms of epilepsy. Abeyaratne has a close connection to Lady Ridgeway, since his grandfather was the hospital’s first superintendent.
Abeyaratne’s performance, titled, The Liszt Connection, included pieces by Chopin, Albeniz, Rachmaninoff and Liszt and was warmly-received by critics.
In its review, The Island said, “This was a compelling performance, with the soloist giving a cogent demonstration of how to blend technical mastery with refined artistic expression. Abeyaratne’s calling card is his virtuoso pianism enriched by superior interpretive skills. He is able to express his inborn musicality in its purest from when he plays Liszt and Rachmaninoff.”
Life Online praised his performance with, “Classical music lovers were indeed spoilt to the hilt by Mr. Abeyaratne’s masterful capture of the famous works of Liszt, Mozart, Brahms, Schumann, Chopin and the ever-impressive Rachmaninoff's Prelude in D Major. We walked in step to the feel and mood of the music with just the notes played by Harsha, conveying to us the emotional scene on hand.”
The performance in Sri Lanka is not Abeyaratne’s only effort to help the hospital. Previously, he collaborated with other musicians on a benefit concert in New Jersey that raised $170,000 for Project Joy.
A member of the Muskingum University faculty since 2003, Abeyaratne's performances include solo concerts at the prestigious Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall in New York and the Gansu Grand Theater in Lanzhou, China. He has also collaborated with world renown artists Rebecca Rischin, Randy Sabein and George Wolfe and has also been a soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka, the Muskingum Valley Symphonic Winds and the Southeastern Ohio Symphony Orchestra (SEOSO). On October 18 he will appear as a soloist with SEOSO to perform Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto.
Students pursue research in Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program
Muskingum University students from a wide variety of academic disciplines dedicated their summer to advanced levels of research as part of the university’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program.
The program allows students and faculty to immerse themselves in the pursuit of specific and challenging areas of research that the students study during the regular school year.
To be considered for a fellowship, students must write a detailed proposal of what they intend to study and what they hope that study will achieve. This is done in tandem with the faculty members with whom they intend to work, and who must provide the formal nomination for the fellowship. Proposals are then considered by the office of the vice president of academic affairs and ultimately approved by the president of the university.
Anna Mayo ’17, a chemistry major, developed an assay for the detection and quantification of a type of mutation in DNA known as abasic sites to help determine the efficacy of chemotherapeutic cancer treatments. Mayo worked with Associate Professor of Chemistry Dr. Deepamali Perera.
Landis Bates ’18, a petroleum geology major, worked on a gas shale retorting experiment that can help reveal the potential for gas production in shale formations. Bates studied with Professor of Chemistry Dr. Ray Rataiczak and Associate Professor of Geology Dr. Eric Law.
Trevor Basham ’16, a petroleum geology major, worked to develop and test a geographic information system to determine landslide susceptibility in Muskingum County. He studied with Associate Professor of Geology Dr. Stephen Van Horn.
Whitney Rice Stesen ’17, a sociology major, spent the summer with the Noble County Genealogical Society to uncover, examine and catalog headstones believed to be buried in the Sarahsville Cemetery. The information from those stones will be integrated into existing documentation on the cemetery. Stesen was advised by Associate Professor of Sociology Dr. Sandra Schroer.
Aaron Vance ’16, a music education major, created band transcriptions for musical compositions that were originally intended for another instrument. The work included Johann Sebastian Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor, and combining that with Bach's Little Fugue in G minor. That transcription will be performed this fall by the Muskingum University Wind Ensemble. Vance also transcribed three dances by Brazilian composer Camargo Guarnieri that were originally written for piano and were at some point transcribed for orchestra. He transcribed the pieces for band, and it is believed that this is the first time that has been done. Vance was advised by Assistant Professor of Music Dr. David Turrill.
Camille Walker ’18, a biology major; and Harrison Raub ’18, a biology and environmental science major; were part of a larger team of researchers who wanted to better understand the ecology of grassland birds living in areas adjacent to The Wilds wildlife preserve and research facility in Cumberland, Ohio. The students studied with Dr. James Dooley, the Bill and Martha Lovejoy Distinguished Professor in Biology; and Dr. Danny Ingold, the Homer A. Anderson Distinguished Professor in the Natural Sciences.
Erica Winland ’17, an environmental science major, collaborated with the Muskingum Soil and Water Conservation District to study agricultural nutrient efficiency by analyzing water, soil and plant samples in Muskingum County. Winland was advised by Associate Professor of Chemistry Dr. Lois Zook-Gerdau.
Taylor Little ’16, a history major, wrote a scholarly article on the history of the Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery in Columbus, where 2,260 Confederates--mostly POWs from the Camp Chase Prison--are buried in the Hilltop neighborhood of Columbus. Little collaborated with Dr. William Kerrigan, the Arthur G. Cole and Eloise Barnes Cole Distinguished Professor of American History.
Distinguished Service Awards granted to four alumni at 2015 Alumni Weekend
A highlight of Muskingum University’s 2015 Alumni Weekend, held June 19 - 21 on the campus, was the presentation on June 19 of the Distinguished Service Award (DSA) to four alumni in recognition of their personal and professional achievements. The award is the university’s highest alumni honor.
Sponsored by the Muskingum University Alumni Council, the DSA recognizes and honors alumni who have distinguished themselves through their professional endeavors and exemplary services to society. Any living Muskingum graduate or former student is eligible to receive this award. Pictured from left to right are: Maurice E. Wilber ’68, Alumni Council President Jim Gray ’74, Barbara Young Morris ’67, President Anne C. Steele, Kim Ronald Smith ’77 and Gordon F. Litt ’80. Read the whole story.
President’s Medal awarded to 1988 alumnus Perry Reese, Jr.
Muskingum University has granted its President’s Medal to 1988 alumnus Perry L. Reese, Jr. The posthumous award was given on June 19 during the university’s Alumni Weekend. Accepting the award were Mr. Reese’s sisters, Audrey Hardy and Jennifer Betha, both of Canton.
The University President’s Medal recognizes individuals who have distinguished themselves by their exemplary actions on behalf of others. Reese was honored for his contributions as an educator, basketball coach and community leader at Hiland High School in Berlin, Ohio.
Mr. Reese’s moving story was told by Gary Smith in the March 5, 2001 issue of Sports Illustrated and inspired millions of readers around the world. As Sports Illustrated celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, the article was designated as one of the “60 best ever to appear in the magazine” and was reprinted on January 9, 2015.
A native of Canton, Ohio, Mr. Reese graduated from Timken High School, entered the workforce, and began college as a part-time student at Kent State University-Stark County campus before transferring to Muskingum in 1977. His studies were interrupted for a time, but he returned to Muskingum to complete his degree and graduated in 1988 with a bachelor of arts degree in history.
In 1984, he was hired as an assistant basketball coach at Hiland High School in Berlin, amidst one of the country’s largest concentrations of Amish and Mennonite families. Shortly afterward, he joined the high school faculty as a history teacher and was named head basketball coach. He broke racial and religious barriers as the only African-American Catholic in Holmes County, and brought members of the community together through the force of his personality and the example he set for others to follow. Those who knew him describe him as a man who saw the best in everyone, created a culture of respect and teamwork among students and community members, challenged others to think broadly and outside of their own concerns, and had a unique ability to forge lasting friendships with people of all ages and backgrounds.
Mr. Reese posted a 304-85 career coaching record and led the Hiland Hawks to their first state championship and advanced the team to three consecutive semi-final championships. He died of brain cancer at the age of 48 on November 22, 2000, leaving behind a community forever changed.
IN THE PHOTO: Pictured from left to right are President Anne C. Steele, Jennifer Betha and Audrey Hardy.
President Anne C. Steele to retire June 30, 2016
Muskingum University President Anne C. Steele announced on Saturday, April 18, 2015, that she will retire on June 30, 2016. She has served since January 1, 2000, when she became Muskingum’s 20th president and first female president.
"We accepted President Steele’s announcement with great regret and deep appreciation for her exceptional leadership and visions,” said Hal Burlingame, Chair of the Muskingum University Board of Trustees. “She has led us in an unprecedented period of growth and development.”
Under her leadership, six new buildings have been constructed – a library, student center, music building, communication program building, art center and art gallery – and extensive renovations of Muskingum’s existing facilities and campus infrastructure have been completed. “Each new building was completely paid for by gifts from Muskingum alumni and friends, which is virtually unheard of in higher education today,” commented Chairman Burlingame.
President Steele has led the expansion of Muskingum’s academic offerings, including the creation of three new degree programs, 15 new majors, the Muskingum Adult Program, and wide-ranging continuing education and professional development programs to meet the needs of Ohio’s workforce. Student experiential learning and co-curricular opportunities have also increased and nine endowed chairs – the first in Muskingum’s history – were established to support excellent teaching in perpetuity. In 2010, President Steele oversaw the institution’s transformation from Muskingum College to Muskingum University.
During President Steele’s tenure, Muskingum’s total enrollment has grown to more than 3,200 students from 1,850 students, the Campaign for Muskingum has raised more than $105 million through historic levels of giving, operating revenue has more than doubled to $55 million from $26 million, and the endowment has grown to $74 million from $47 million.
In announcing her retirement, President Steele said, “It is truly an honor to be a part of a community of such dedicated faculty, staff, students alumni, and friends. Because of you, untold lives have been changed and promising futures are allowed to unfold. I will always cherish my time at Muskingum and in New Concord.”
Chairman Burlingame also announced that a national search process will soon be launched to identify candidates to succeed President Steele.
To read letters to the Muskingum community from Chairman Burlingame and President Steele, click here.
Dale W. Dickson Scholarship awards support to Darren McCaughan of Cambridge
A first-year Muskingum University student has been awarded financial support from the Dale W. Dickson Endowed Scholarship Fund. Darren McCaughan, a graduate of Meadowbrook High School, will begin his studies at Muskingum this fall. He is the son of Richelle McCaughan of Cambridge.
Read the whole story.
Stories from our 2014-2015 academic year . . .
Undergraduate commencement 2015 features address by John W. Gardner ’68 and baccalaureate speech
by D. Craig Nordlund
Muskingum University held its undergraduate commencement exercises on May 9, featuring an address by 1968 alumnus John W. Gardner (left). The baccalaureate address was delivered D. Craig Nordlund. Bachelor of arts, bachelor of science and bachelor of science in nursing degrees were conferred. Read the who story.
Master’s degrees granted at 2015 graduate commencement, with address by Beverly J. Coen ’68
Muskingum University granted master’s degrees at its graduate commencement exercises, held May 7 in Brown Chapel on the campus. The address was delivered by 1968 alumnus Beverly J. Coen. Degrees conferred were the Master of Arts in Teaching, the Master of Arts in Education and the Master of Information Strategy, Systems and Technology. Read the whole story.
Students present research findings at Undergraduate Research and Scholarship Week
Muskingum University students presented their research findings at the science division’s Undergraduate Research and Scholarship Week, held April 20-23 on the campus. The week features two events: The James Bradford Colloquium and the Homer S. Anderson Lecture. At the colloquium, students speak on their research projects to their peers and faculty members, each with a strict 15-minute time limit that emulates a professional science conference. Those presentations are then judged and ranked by the faculty, and awards are granted to the top three presenters. Read the whole story.
Students earn broadcasting and journalism awards
Muskingum University has recognized excellence in its student broadcasters and journalists with four awards. The university is home to three media outlets, known collectively as Orbit Media. The radio station is WMCO-FM, the television station is Orbit TV and the newspaper is The Black and Magenta. Read the whole story.
Six Muskingum University students presented their research findings at the North Central Sociological Association annual conference, held April 9 and 10 in Cleveland. An additional 10 students also attended the conference. Read the whole story.
Students attend sociology conference and present research
Ten Muskingum University students attend National Model United Nations Conference in New York City where they meet with Estonian Delegation to the United Nations
Ten Muskingum University students, chosen to represent the university at the annual National Model United Nations Conference, held in New York City, March 22-26, met with the Estonian delegation to the United Nations. Read the whole story.
Muskingum University Rotaract Club presents check to Muskingum Valley Miracle League
Students from the Rotaract Club of Muskingum University recently presented a $500 donation to the Muskingum Valley Miracle League. The students presented their donation to Rotarians at the Zanesville Daybreak Rotary meeting which was held at the Zanesville Country Club on Thursday March 19. Read the whole story.
Dr. Lois Zook-Gerdau Receives National Science Teachers Association Award
Muskingum University Associate Professor of Chemistry Dr. Lois Zook-Gerdau is the only college-level faculty member in the nation to earn the 2015 Vernier Technology Award from the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA). Read the whole story.
Students show strong support for 2015 MLK Day of Service
Approximately 150 Muskingum students turned out to lend a hand locally to the national Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, held January 19. Across Muskingum and Guernsey counties, students gave their time in a variety of locations with many different activities. Read the whole story.
Omicron Delta Kappa donates to New Concord Food Pantry
The Muskingum University chapter of Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK), the national leadership honor society, donated $580 to the New Concord Food Pantry during the fall 2014 semester. Chapter members raised the money by volunteering to do yard work and household chores in the community in exchange for donations. The pantry, located at College Drive Presbyterian Church, typically helps approximately 150 families a month, and anticipates a greater need in December. Pictured are Reverend Anne Weirich (left), pastor of the church, and Molly Canfield '15, president of the Muskingum chapter of ODK.
Speech team earns honors in back-to-back tournaments and qualifies ten for 2014 national competition
The Muskingum University speech team earned second place team sweepstakes honors at two consecutive speech tournaments and qualified ten team members for national competition. The honors came during the fall semester at the Falcon Classic Birds of a Feather Swing Tournament, held at Bowling Green State University, and the Whopper Xtravaganza Tournament, held on Muskingum’s campus. Read the whole story.
Science students present papers at 2014 American Chemical Society conference
Five Muskingum University students presented three research papers at the American Chemical Society’s 2014 Central Regional meeting, held during the fall semester in Pittsburgh. Read the whole story.
Student-broadcasters ranked nationally in College Broadcasters competition
Muskingum University’s Orbit TV ranked in the top four student media outlets in the nation at the 2014 College Broadcasters, Incorporated annual National Student Electronic Media Convention, held during the fall semester in Seattle. Read the whole story.
Students present research at Fall Research and Internship Forum
Students from both the Science Division and other academic disciplines presented their research and internship findings at the university’s annual Fall Research and Internship Forum, held during the fall 2014 semester.
Students presented their findings in a poster format that is typically associated with professional presentations in the sciences. Read the whole story.
Muskingum University Associate Professor of Chemistry Dr. Lois Zook-Gerdau was named the 2014 Conservation Educator of the Year by the Muskingum Soil and Water Conservation District. Each year, one Muskingum County educator is honored. Read the whole story.
Dr. Lois Zook-Gerdau earns 2014 Conservation Educator of the Year award from Muskingum Soil and Water Conservation District
Congratulations to New England Patriot Cornerbacks’ Coach Josh Boyer, Muskingum Class of 2000
As the New England Patriots celebrated their most recent Super Bowl victory, a very interesting
Muskingum connection emerged behind the story of Malcolm Butler’s victory-saving interception for the New England Patriots.
Last May, Butler was an undrafted Division II player from West Alabama when he received an invitation to try out for the Patriot’s roster from New England’s cornerbacks coach: Josh Boyer, a member of the Muskingum Class of 2000.
Boyer was the only coach to offer Butler an opportunity to compete for an NFL roster spot and his ability to identify talent led to Butler’s making the team as an undrafted free agent and ultimately changing the course of Super Bowl XLIX.
At Muskingum, Josh Boyer was a scholar-athlete who earned his Bachelor of Science degree magna cum laude in Physical Education and Health. He lettered as a four-year starter for the Fighting Muskies, was an All-Ohio Athletic Conference selection as a senior defensive back, and was a two-time Academic All-Conference selection. He was a member of three national honorary societies: Beta Beta Beta (biology), Omicron Delta Kappa (academic honorary for juniors and seniors), and the Order of Omega (academic honorary for members of Greek societies). The Heath, Ohio native was also active in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Intramurals, and the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity.
Boyer joined the Patriots staff in 2006, serving first as a coaching assistant for three seasons, then as defensive backs coach for three seasons, and has now just completed his third season as cornerbacks coach. He began his coaching career in 2000 as an assistant coach at King’s College (PA), and also coached at the University of Dayton, Kent State, Bryant University, and the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.
Dr. Barb Hansen chairs national conference, Rural Strong: Collaborating, Innovation and Revitalizing for Rural Prosperity
Muskingum University Distinguished Professor of Education Dr. Barbara A. Hansen chaired a national conference in 2014, Rural Strong: Collaborating, Innovating and Revitalizing for Rural Prosperity, held at the Hilton Polaris in Columbus. The event was hosted by Battelle for Kids, the Ohio Department of Education and the Kentucky Department of Education. Read the whole story.
Two students selected for Southeast Ohio Watermedia Society Exhibition, with one chosen as best of show
Artworks by two Muskingum University students were selected to appear in the 2014 Southeast Ohio Watermedia Society Annual Exhibition, titled Expressions. Read the whole story.
Professor of Art Ken McCollum is presenter for international Zanesville Prize conference, From The Ground Up, and exhibitor at 70th Ohio Annual exhibition
Muskingum University Professor of Art Ken McCollum was a presenter at the Zanesville Prize for Contemporary Ceramics conference, From The Ground Up, as a part of the largest Best of Show prize competition in the Western Hemisphere, and was an exhibitor at the 70th Annual Ohio Annual Exhibition. Read the whole story.
Muskingum University sophomore Robert Lee Fields III was the recipient of a 2014 United Parcel Service (UPS) scholarship. Fields, a business management and health administration major from Akron, was one of approximately 30 students in the state to receive the honor.
Robert Lee Fields III '17 awarded scholarship from United Parcel Service Foundation
The annual scholarship is awarded by the UPS Foundation through its UPS Educational Endowment Fund. In Ohio, the scholarship awards are made through a partnership of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Ohio (AICUO), of which Muskingum University is a member, and the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC). This year, the CIC has granted approximately $1.5 million in UPS scholarship support nationwide. The awards are based on a student’s academic performance and financial need.
Awards for excellence in teaching, scholarship and faculty service granted at Convocation
At Muskingum University's Convocation, held August 26, 2014 on the campus, three faculty members were recognized for excellence in teaching, scholarship and service. The awards were presented by Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. James E. Callaghan.
Read the whole story.
Convocation features address by 1986 alumnus William W. Goetz ’86
Muskingum University held its Convocation on August 26, 2014 featuring an address by 1986 alumnus William W. Goetz.
Read the whole story.
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