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Tidbits & Briefs


Willamette Meteorite Fragment Given to Grand Ronde


Members of the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde and the University community purified their hands with sage smoke before handling this piece of the Willamette Meteorite (left), found in a closet in Collins Hall in spring 2005. The University’s only fragment of the meteorite was presented to tribal representatives in a ceremony April 17 at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art. The 15.5-ton meteorite—the largest found in the United States and sixth largest in the world—is believed by the Grand Ronde to be a sacred object that served as a powerful source of healing and cleansing in ancient times. The tribe has been unsuccessful in attempts to acquire other pieces of the meteorite, including the largest portion, shown here on display at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

Ambassador Speaks About Origins of Iraq War

Former Ambassador Joseph Wilson

Former Ambassador Joseph Wilson spoke about the origins of the Iraqi war before a packed Smith Auditorium April 5. Wilson is the author of The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife’s CIA Identity and What I Didn’t Find in Africa. Sent to investigate Saddam Hussein’s purported weapons of mass destruction (WMD), Wilson became one of the most vocal critics of the Bush administration, alleging that the WMD intelligence was manipulated to justify an invasion of Iraq. His wife, Valerie Plame, was an undercover CIA agent whose identity was disclosed, resulting in the eventual indictment of Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, Lewis Libby.

The U.S. must strive for a political rather than a military solution in Iraq, Wilson said, one that involves the insurgents and other nations. “If the U.S. does not involve them in a peaceful solution, they are likely to be involved in other ways, either as sponsors of terror or suppliers of weapons.”

In closing, Wilson’s message was, “Care about what’s happening in your country. Watch your elected officials the same way you watch the NCAA basketball tournament.”

Symmonds Fastest Man in Division III

Nick Symmonds

It’s no wonder Nick Symmonds ’06 chose the element mercury for his senior research project. Named for the fleetfooted messenger of the gods, the liquid metal “quicksilver” fits Symmonds like a custom running shoe. Quite simply, Nick Symmonds is the fastest man in NCAA Division III and one of the fastest in the nation.

An Academic All-American, the track and field athlete is a five-time national champion in the 800 and 1,500 meters. Symmonds was named the 2005 Division III Track and Field Male Athlete of the Year and recently won the prestigious Ad Rutschman Award, presented to the state’s top small-college athlete.

In late May Symmonds broke the Division III record for the 800 meters with a time of 1:47.34, securing his top-five national ranking in that event. He has no intention of giving up any titles. Prior to his record-breaking run, he posted the best times this year in the 800 (1:48.97) and 1,500 (3:49.23), and he currently ranks third in the nation in the 400 meters.

Beyond his accomplishments on the short track, Symmonds was the surprise winner of the Northwest Conference cross country championship earlier this year, helping lead the Bearcats to another conference and regional championship, their fifth in a row, and a 16th place finish at nationals, their second consecutive top-five national finish.

Symmonds will leave a lasting legacy in Bearcat athletic history: five (and counting) national championships; three school records; state, regional and national athlete of the year honors and recognition as an Academic All-American.

So as Symmonds takes on life after college, one goal remains: to race in the 2008 Olympics. Key to the young chemist’s future might very well be the periodic table. Look just left of mercury to find gold.

Museum Seeks Volunteer Docents

Art Piece

The Hallie Ford Museum of Art is recruiting volunteer docents for its fall class. Docents help the public understand and appreciate museum exhibitions. Training for new and active docents will continue throughout the school year. Call 503-370-6855 for information.

Law Students Take Top Spots at International Moot Court Competition

College of Law

Willamette law students won three top spots in the 2006 Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Western Regional Competition. The WUCL team—Curtis Burns, Tyler Griffith, Kevin Mehrens, Judith Parker and Mia Peterson—took third in the Best Brief category, while Judith Parker took second place and Curtis Burns took seventh in the Best Oralist category.

Law schools around the globe participate in the Jessup competition, which is considered the most prestigious moot court competition in the world. Students from more than 90 countries participate in the annual event, preparing briefs and arguing hypothetical cases.

No Debate, WU Is No. 1 in the Nation

1st Place

The oldest debate society west of the Mississippi has triumphed again, winning the National Parliamentary Debate Association Tournament Sweepstakes Championship for the best overall school performance. They also landed the Season Sweepstakes Championship, awarded to the school with the best performance throughout the season. Students debate political and philosophical issues such as euthanasia, capital punishment, whether tax cuts should be rolled back, or whether citizens should worry more about safety or security.

In addition, the American Forensics Association named Willamette Debate Coach Rob Layne as its New Coach of the Year.

A Farewell Tribute for Both

Professor Robert Hess

Art Professor Robert Hess has been working this spring and summer in his home studio to create a life-sized bronze sculpture of former Willamette track coach Chuck Bowles. The University commissioned Hess to create the outdoor sculpture in honor of Bowles, who passed away in December. The art will be installed at McCulloch Stadium. Hess, who has been teaching art at Willamette for 34 years, retired this spring. He plans to stay in Salem and focus full time on his sculpting.


Trading Places

Student Scholarship Recognition Day

Classes were cancelled April 19, giving faculty and students an opportunity to trade places for the sixth annual Student Scholarship Recognition Day (SSRD). More than 70 students and nearly 20 faculty moderators participated in venues throughout campus. “We’re proud of our students,” says Biology Professor Sharon Rose, co-coordinator of the event. “We measure our success by theirs.”

Established by former CLA Dean Larry Kress in 2000, SSRD showcases the breadth and depth of undergraduate research at Willamette and is modeled on professional disciplinary conferences and symposia. The focus is on academic research, with presentations on 55 projects, many completed under the auspices of the Carson Undergraduate Research Program, the Science Collaborative Research Program and the Presidential Scholars Program. The day also offered a variety of dance, theatre and musical productions, a conducting workshop, a campus-wide nature walk, art exhibitions, and video, slide and multimedia presentations.

AGSM and Babson, Partners in Portland

AGSM and Babson

Willamette’s Atkinson Graduate School of Management and the Babson College Olin Graduate School of Business are teaming up to offer post-graduate executive education at the Willamette Portland Center in the Pearl District. AGSM Dean Jim Goodrich and Babson Dean Mark Rice were joined by James Fitzhenry MBA/JD ’81, senior vice president of FLIR, and Scott Gibson of Gibson Enterprises in making the announcement March 9.

Both highly regarded business schools are accredited by AACSB International. Babson’s program is noted for entrepreneurship and innovation, while AGSM is recognized for providing well-rounded management skills to adapt to rapidly changing markets and technology. The first programs offered this year will focus on competitor profiling, succession planning and leadership.