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News of the University

A Clean Slate
An innovative University program removes tattoos for more than cosmetic reasons.

by Randy Harward

Dr. Marvin Spann
Dr. Marvin Spann removes Katie’s tattoo utilizing a laser.

At 8 a.m., University of Utah plastic surgery resident Marvin Spann, M.D., greets “Katie,” a young mother of four. Some years ago, she was tattooed with emblems of her husband’s Utah State Prison-based white supremacist gang. “I wasn’t even a white supremacist,” she says. “I just did it to please him.”

Now remarried, Katie wants the crudely inked insignia on her ankle and upper back gone. Since she can’t afford the procedures, which run $500 per five-minute laser treatment (she’ll need a total of six monthly treatments), Katie applied to University Health Care’s gang tattoo removal program. Founded in 1991 by the University and the Salt Lake Gang Project, which carefully vets each applicant to ensure he or she has abandoned gang life forever, patients like Katie receive treatment free of charge.

The idea, says Spann, is “to help these gang members get rid of these tattoos and lead a normal life and not have to address what the tattoos are and why they have them.”

Donning protective eyewear, Spann fires up the laser wand. The ankle tattoo noting the initials of Katie’s ex-husband’s gang is done in about five minutes. But the larger tattoo on her back—her ex-husband’s name—takes a bit longer. When treatment is over, Katie calls her father to come get her.

When her father pulls up, Katie opens the van’s sliding door, revealing her sleeping children. She’s buoyed by the knowledge that soon she won’t have to explain the tattoos to her kids or make up lies for inquisitive strangers. “I am so relieved that I can wear tank tops in the summertime,” she says. “I’m happy that my husband can look at my back without getting upset. And my parents—they don’t like to see it, either. It’s a horrible reminder.”

— by Randy Harward

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   The U was recently ranked second in the nation at starting technology companies based on its diverse and varied research. This is according to the latest survey of the Association of University Technology Managers, which ranks public and private research institutions throughout the country. The ranking is based on the University’s accomplishment of starting 20 new companies in 2006. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with 23 new companies, was the only university ranked as more productive than the University of Utah.

   University of Utah programs are ranked 27 times, far more than any other school in Utah, in U.S. News & World Report’s 2009 edition of America’s Best Graduate Schools. The S.J. Quinney College of Law moved up among the nation’s top tier law schools, ranking 51st. This year, the Medical School is ranked 50th in the nation for research and 31st for primary care. Other recognitions for health sciences include: Pharmacy (16th), the Physician Assistant Program (4th), Nursing (47th), Nurse Midwifery (8th), Audiology (36th), Clinical Psychology (57th), Occupational Therapy (65th), and Physical Therapy (19th). The following U programs or colleges also secured rankings: Master of Public Administration (51st), College of Engineering (59th, tied with Michigan State University), College of Education (73rd, tied with the University of North Carolina-Greensboro), Mathematics (33rd), Chemistry t h), Biology (58th), Computer Sciences (39th), Earth Sciences (43rd), Physics (56th), English (72nd), and Psychology (107th). Newly ranked this year by U.S. News is the U’s graduate program in Fine Arts, coming in at 106.

Ingrid Price.jpg
Ingrid Price, 2008 Harry S. Truman Scholarship recipient.
   Kudos to U of U student Ingrid Price, who was one of 65 selected from 283 U.S. colleges and universities as a 2008 Truman Scholar. Price is the second Truman Scholar at the University of Utah in two years, but one of only four selected from a Utah university in the past 10 years. The prestigious scholarship provides each recipient with $30,000 for graduate study as well as priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, along with leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special fellowship opportunities within the federal government.

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Campus Notebook

U Lands $21.2M Software Grant
The University has been awarded a software gift valued at $21.2 million from Landmark, a product service line of Halliburton’s Drilling and Evaluation Division. The three-year, renewable donation provides advanced software, including maintenance and support, to students and researchers in the College of Engineering and the College of Mines and Earth Sciences, especially those who focus on studying energy development. The software is used to help find oil and gas resources more efficiently.

Gift Builds Future for Engineering Students
A recent $3.3 million gift from U of U alumnus Floyd Meldrum BS’62 and his wife, Jeri, founders of Las Vegas-based Southern Nevada Paving, is the cornerstone in a $5 million campaign to strengthen the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Their gift will help fund a 14,500-square-foot expansion of an existing laboratory and office building. When completed, the expanded building will be renamed the Floyd and Jeri Meldrum Civil and Environmental Engineering Building, in recognition of the couple’s total giving to the University.

Foundation Pledges $1.25M for New Nanofab Lab
The pledge from the private, nonprofit Micron Technology Foundation will support the development of a nanofabrication teaching and research laboratory as a core facility in the new Utah Science, Technology and Research (USTAR) building now under development on the University campus. The lab is one of several highly specialized facilities planned to support research teams on the leading edge of technology development and commercialization.

Capecchi, Eccles and Young
From left to right: Mario R. Capecchi, U of U President Michael K. Young, and Spencer F. Eccles BS’56.

George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation Endows Two Chairs
The George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation has established two $1 million endowed chairs in honor of University of Utah biologist-geneticist Mario R. Capecchi, winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. The chairs will help fulfill one of Capecchi’s most important goals as an educator and scientist: providing outstanding young researchers in genetics and biology the financial assistance necessary to launch their careers at the University. These endowed chairs are unique because they will rotate to fund two untenured, junior scientists from the University and around the world to pursue their research alongside Capecchi for three-year periods. Typically, endowed chairs are awarded to senior, tenured faculty.

Artists to Leave Lasting Legacies
The College of Fine Arts will launch a new artist residency program, thanks to a generous gift of over $1 million from Marva Warnock BS’66 and John Warnock BS’61 MS’64 PhD’69. The Marva and John Warnock Endowed Art Residency Program will bring a diverse range of nationally and internationally acclaimed artists to campus for extended residencies that will allow them to become deeply engaged in the education of the U’s studio art students. Unlike many guest artist programs, which bring artists to campus for short visits, the Warnock Artist Residency Program will offer visiting artists appointments of at least one and up to two years. The program is designed to attract both rising stars in the art world as well as artists whose reputations are well established.

New Scholarship Fund Announced
A group of influential Utah community leaders recently joined with the University of Utah to create the Pastor France A. Davis University of Utah Scholarship Fund. The new fund, named in honor of one of the state’s most prominent civic leaders, will work to advance educational opportunities for meritorious, financially deserving African American students, who have traditionally been marginalized.

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In Memoriam

Sally Rich Burbidge Cassity BA’52, 76, philanthropist and champion of numerous University programs

R. Paul Cracroft BA’48 MA’54, 85, former executive director of the Alumni Association, instructor in journalism, and manager of Kingsbury Hall

Ernst Eichwald MD’53, 84, former professor of pathology and pioneering scientist

Bae Gardner ex’49, 81, associate director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics for 23 years

William Mulder, 92, former professor of English and founding director of both the Institute of American Studies and the Center for Intercultural Studies (now the Middle East Center)

For a tribute to Gordon B. Hinckley BA’32, along with longer items for each of these memoria, click here.

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