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News of the University

Extreme Makeover
The U’s most venerated building gets a much-needed remodel

The Park Building

Well, maybe it isn’t exactly extreme. But it is an important facelift for the U’s most iconic structure.

Anyone who has been near Presidents Circle lately has most likely noticed that the Park Building is undergoing a major exterior renovation. The $8.2 million project, which is expected to be completed by May 2009, will restore the exterior of the building and structurally upgrade the roof, attic, and other areas to better resist earthquakes.

“We’re also introducing or replacing fire-protection systems in much of the interior, especially in the attic and fourth floor,” says Campus Design & Construction’s Scott Jefferson, project manager for the renovation. “The limestone, brick, and granite walls with terra cotta cornices, parapets, and decoration need to be repaired, replaced, and/or cleaned. The exterior and roof need to be reinforced. And the terra cotta balustrade located high on the building was removed last year and will be restored and reinstalled.”

Jefferson and his team went the extra mile by tracking down the original terra cotta manufacturer, Gladding, McBean & Co., located in Lincoln, Calif., to assist in the restoration of the building. “They had some original shop drawings for the project in their archive,” says Jefferson. “They still manufacture architectural terra cotta and are creating about 450 new and replacement pieces for this restoration.”

When the project is complete, the column bases at the main entry will be re-clad in historically detailed terra cotta. The cleaned and restored limestone will also appear much less weathered and discolored.

The statue of John R. Park, president of the University from 1869-1892, will be getting some TLC as well. “The statue will be restored and reinstalled on a terra cotta-clad plinth (the slab on which the statue rests) replacing the deteriorated limestone block,” says Jefferson.

—Ann W. Floor BFA’85 is a writer for University Marketing & Communications.

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In Balance
Ashley Postell finishes her gymnastics career at the U on a high note.

By Marcia C. Dibble

Ashley Postell

Ashley Postell, a current University of Utah senior and competitive gymnast from 2004-08, finished her collegiate gymnastics career with numerous new school records and a national record to her name. She was also inducted into the 2008 USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame as a member of the 2003 U.S. Women’s World Championships Team, which claimed the USA’s first team world title, as well as three individual event medals. A member of the USA Senior National Team from 1998-2004, Postell was the 2003 U.S. Floor Exercise Champion and competed in both the 2002 and 2003 World Championships, becoming the 2002 World Balance Beam Champion.

As a U of U freshman, Postell won the All-Around in her very first college meet, and her 39.625 score set a Ute freshman record for best all-around debut. During her collegiate career, she went on to receive 19 more All-America awards for a grand total of 20, the most a gymnast can win and a new national record. Of those, 17 were first-team honors. She also now holds or is tied for all five of Utah’s major school gymnastics records. Along with the All-America record, Postell set Utah career records with 120 victories and 30 All-Around wins, and, in 2007-08, set a school season record with 47 individual victories. She tied the Utah record for All-Around victories in a season: 11. The 2007 NCAA balance beam champion, Postell took silver on the apparatus in the 2008 NCAA individual competition and received second place for the third time in the All-Around at the championships, where the U of U team, the Red Rocks, also finished second, just behind Georgia for the third straight year in the closest competition in six years. Postell took off this fall semester to participate in the 2008 Tour of Gymnastics Superstars. She plans to return to the U this spring to complete her degree.

—Marcia C. Dibble is assistant editor of Continuum.

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  The latest issue of U.S. News & World Report/America’s Best Colleges ranks the U’s David Eccles School of Business at No. 65 in the country, tying it with eight other schools. The U’s College of Engineering came in at No. 70 nationally, while its Service Learning Program was honored as one of the magazine’s “Programs to Look For.” The University of Utah is also being recognized by U.S. News for having an undergraduate student population with one of the least amounts of debt. Only 41 percent of students graduating from the U have some college debt, averaging $13,994. Parents’ loans are not included.

  Meanwhile, in the health sciences, University Health Care’s gynecologic and cancer care are rated 21st and 40th, respectively, in U.S. News & World Report’s 19th annual survey of America’s Best Hospitals. The rankings place University Health Care among the nation’s top providers for the 15th time. The annual rankings look at 16 medical specialties to list the top 50 hospitals in each area. For more accolades, visit and select “Recognizing U” on the left.

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Campus Notebook

Diversity Initiatives Expanded
The U recently announced that the Office for Diversity is expanding its name to Equity and Diversity. Correspondingly, the University’s chief diversity officer, Octavio Villalpando, will assume the new title of associate vice president of equity and diversity. The expanded name will more accurately reflect the U’s efforts not only to increase its demographic diversity, but also to ensure greater equity in the educational, professional, and personal experiences of all communities on campus.

Gift Will Revitalize Nuclear Engineering Program
The University of Utah, with one of only 29 nuclear engineering programs remaining in the U.S., will use a $1.5 million gift from the EnergySolutions Foundation to establish a Presidential Endowed Chair in Nuclear Engineering in its College of Engineering. In addition, the curriculum will be expanded with new courses, and a new minor in nuclear engineering is being developed-in response to students’ requests-for those who are pursuing degrees in the core engineering disciplines. The goal of the U’s program expansion is to help address the critical shortfall in qualified professionals for nuclear industries including power generation, extraction and storage of nuclear materials, health care, and related industries.

New Building

The U Receives $12 Million for New Interdisciplinary Arts and Education Complex
The Sorenson Legacy Foundation has pledged $12 million to the University for the construction of an interdisciplinary arts and education complex. It is the largest donation in support of fine arts or arts and education in University history. The new facility will be named the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts and Education Complex and will be built at the southern entrance of the campus adjacent to Milton Bennion Hall, east of the David Eccles School of Business. Beverley Taylor Sorenson BS’45, wife of the late entrepreneur James LeVoy Sorenson, is a former elementary school teacher who founded Art Works for Kids, an innovative program that has helped bring music, dance, theater, and the visual arts into many Utah elementary schools. A principal goal of the new interdisciplinary educational complex will be to research and facilitate teaching methods for integrating arts education into traditional core curriculum subjects such as math, science, history, and language arts.

College of Nursing Announces Endowed Chair in Healthy Aging
Robert and Joyce Rice have established the $1.25 million Robert L. and Joyce T. Rice Presidential Endowed Chair in Healthy Aging in the College of Nursing at the University of Utah. Robert Rice, now deceased, long contributed to the University in various ways. The most recent Rice gift will enhance the work of the College of Nursing in the field of aging and will become the cornerstone of the new Hartford Center of Excellence in Geriatric Education.

Health Sciences Appoints New Chief of Public Health
As of Aug. 1, the division that maintains one of the largest graduate programs within the University of Utah health sciences has a new leader, Stephen C. Alder BS’92 MS’96 PhD’01, assistant professor of family and preventive medicine. A 20-year member of the University of Utah family, Alder joined the Division of Public Health in 1998 and has since served in various faculty and administrative positions. His focus of study includes global health concerns, pandemic flu, antibacterial resistance, and health issues related to nuclear fallout. The Division of Public Health is home to 30 faculty and staff members and offers programs for master’s and doctoral degrees in public health.

Digital Sky Survey

Grant Funds the U’s Entry into the Third Sloan Digital Sky Survey
The University of Utah is joining a major international effort to map the heavens as a way to search for giant planets in other solar systems, study expansion of the universe, and probe the mysterious dark matter and dark energy that make up most of the cosmos. With a $450,000 grant from the Willard L. Eccles Charitable Foundation and a matching amount from the U, the Department of Physics is providing $900,000 to join the third phase of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-III), a joint effort of about 20 research institutions around the world. SDSS-III started July 15 and extends into 2014. During the past eight years, the Sloan survey has created the largest three-dimensional maps of the structure of the cosmos by making images covering more than one-quarter of the sky.

In Memoriam

Angelo Caravaglia, 83, University of Utah professor emeritus of art and former professor and chairman, Department of Sculpture.

James L. Lords BS’50 MS’51 PhD’60, 80, University of Utah professor emeritus of biology

Max Rogers, 89, University of Utah professor emeritus of philosophy

Wilford W. Goodwill, 90, a generous philanthropist, perhaps most notably for the University’s Wilford W. and Dorothy P. Goodwill Humanitarian Building

To read longer versions of these memoria, as well as others, click here.

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