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Lending a Hand for 100 Years

The U of U Women’s Club celebrates its centennial.
U of U Women's Club
The University of Utah Women’s Club Centennial Luncheon February 2009. L-R: Louine Holt, Pat Hall, Rita Patton, Sue Hoeppner, Dawn Ann Bailey, Nettie Pendley.
In the fall of 1909, Jane Kingsbury, wife of University of Utah president Joseph T. Kingsbury, invited a group of faculty wives to her home to discuss the formation of a club to foster friendships and increase interest in the University. The group was small, since there were only 38 faculty members at the U. But that first meeting was the beginning of a century-long endeavor by women associated with the school to provide support for the U and service to the community.

The group became known as the University of Utah Women’s Club and initially met once a month at the Normal School in the Alfred C. Emery Building (a “normal school” was the term used at the time for an institution that specialized in training public school teachers). Activities included sewing projects (hemming University napkins), musical programs, and involvement in civic affairs, including support for soldiers during both world wars.

Today, the club has moved away from many of the original activities but retains several interest groups (literature, music, book club, and bridge, to name a few) while focusing primarily on raising scholarships for undergraduate women. In 2009, the club awarded 15 endowed scholarships to the U.

During its 2009 centennial, the Women’s Club is celebrating the strength, courage, and vision of the original founders and is continuing to promote the mission of the University—especially in the education of women. The club will hold a membership tea on Sept. 14, 2009, at the Rosenblatt House.

The organization’s membership, which in 1909 was exclusive and restricted to faculty wives, is now more inclusive and welcomes all women associated with the University (including faculty or staff affiliations), as well as women from the community who have an interest in supporting the U.

Additional information about the club is available online at


U of U Singers
The University of Utah Singers in Nymburk, Czech Republic

  The University of Utah Singers, an elite choral ensemble of the U’s School of Music, was awarded first prize at the 11th annual International Chamber Choir Competition held in Marktoberdorf, Germany in late May/early June. The only U.S. choir invited to compete in the prestigious biennial festival, the Singers also earned third prize for youth choirs (those composed of 18- to 21-year-olds) and received a special award for “best interpretation of choral work being premiered at the competition.” The Singers’ 2009 win culminated a three-week concert tour of Eastern Europe in which they logged more than 1,500 miles, performing in Prague, Budapest, Salzburg, and other cities in six countries.

A University of Utah team composed of computer and engineering students Rohan Madtha, Daniel Van Tasell, Kenneth Williams, and Tao Xing, received the Windows Mobile prize in the U.S. finals of the 2009 Imagine Cup, Microsoft’s international student competition for new ideas with broad social benefits and strong commercial potential, for a technology that monitors teens’ driving habits using their otherwise disabled cell phones. The students’ Team Safe Teen Driving built on the so-called Key2SafeDriving tool, developed by their U faculty mentor, Xeusong Zhou, a professor of civil engineering, and Wallace M. Curry, Jr. BS’93. To eliminate one of the most dangerous driving distractions, Key2SafeDriving disables a driver’s cell phone while their car key is in use; the U students’ development goes one step further by then using the cell phone to evaluate how safely the car is being driven, measuring its braking, turning, and speed by utilizing existing phone technology such as the accelerometer in all iPhones.

For additional accolades, visit and select “Recognizing U.”

In Memoriam

Ned Alger EdD’69, 80, former athletics administrator and coach at the University of Utah

Donald J. Bergsma, 75, former architecture instructor at the University of Utah

William Fowler BA’50 PhD’54, 91, composer and founder of the University of Utah’s jazz major and guitar programs

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The Slumping Economy, Year Two

Professor Jerry Basford offers some advice on creating a strong financial foundation for you and your family.
Jerry Basford
Jerry Basford

As the U.S. moves into the second year of an economic downturn, Jerry Basford, associate vice president for student affairs and adjunct instructor in the David Eccles School of Business, shares his list of the top things to do to protect your financial health:

Get out of credit card debt. Each month, use any discretionary money to pay down debt on one card. When it’s paid off, increase your payment on another. Although paying off the card with the highest interest rate will save you money, Basford suggests paying off the one with the lowest balance. “You’ll see progress sooner and feel better about attaining your goals,” he says. Continue to work your way up to the card with the largest balance.

Create a budget and track your spending—know where your money is going, and make a plan for how to spend it.

Select a month when you won’t buy any extras—no soft drinks, books, CDs, nothing. Use this money to begin building an emergency fund, enough to cover three to six months of expenses.

Pay close attention to letters and statements from credit card companies. Many are increasing interest rates and decreasing balance limits—the letter is the only notification of these changes you will receive.

Choose a few days when you commit not to spend any money, and select a month when you won’t use your credit card. Think about how many hours you have to work to earn the money to buy something you want.

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Campus Notebook

Zeev “Valy” Vardeny
Zeev “Valy” Vardeny

2009 Rosenblatt Prize Awarded to Distinguished Professor of Physics Zeev “Valy” Vardeny was awarded the Rosenblatt Prize for Excellence, the University’s most prestigious honor. The $40,000 gift is presented annually to a faculty member who displays excellence in teaching, research, and administrative efforts. Vardeny is one of the world’s foremost experimental physicists. Look for a profile of Vardeny in the Winter 2009-10 issue of Continuum.

Charles Wight
Charles Wight

New Dean for Graduate School Charles A. “Chuck” Wight has been selected as the Graduate School’s new dean. He succeeds David Chapman, who returns to teaching and academic research. Wight was most recently associate vice president for academic affairs and undergraduate studies. In his faculty role, Wight investigates the rates and mechanisms of chemical reactions that are important in the combustion and detonation of high explosives and rocket propellants. In his administrative role, he has been responsible for assessment and oversight of a broad range of issues relating to academic outreach, educational technology, undergraduate course requirements, and the U’s potential partnership with Dixie State College.

New Professorships in Cancer Research The newly created Jon and Karen Huntsman Presidential Professorships in Cancer Research will benefit the critical cancer research programs at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI). The professorships were made possible by a generous donation from Utah philanthropists Jon M. and Karen Huntsman to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the HCI this year. The gift will provide a source of guaranteed funds to support the cancer research activities of five HCI investigators. The Jon and Karen Huntsman Presidential Professorships in Cancer Research will award $375,000 annually, $75,000 for each of the presidential professorships, one of the University’s most coveted recognitions for research excellence.

Taylor Randall
Taylor Randall

Business School Appoints New Dean Taylor Randall was recently named to replace Jack Brittain as dean of the David Eccles School of Business. Randall has served on the faculty of the School of Accounting for the past 10 years and was most recently associate dean of academic affairs. He took over as director of the University Venture Fund in 2003, and from that date until now, the fund has become the largest independent student-run venture in the country. Brittain, who served as dean from 1999 to 2009, continues as Pierre Lassonde presidential chair and U of U vice president for Technology Venture Development.

David Rudd
David Rudd

New Dean of College of Social and Behavioral Science Chosen M. David Rudd has been named dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Science. He replaces Steve Ott, who now divides his time between teaching, academic research, and directing the Institute of Public and International Affairs and the Center for Public Policy and Administration. Rudd was previously professor and chair of the Department of Psychology at Texas Tech University, with an adjunct appointment as professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences in the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center. Rudd’s research focuses on clinical suicidology and cognitive therapy, as well as ethics and regulatory issues in psychology.

Cynthia Furse
Cynthia Furse

New Associate Vice President for Research Named Cynthia M. Furse, professor of electrical and computer engineering, has been appointed associate vice president for research. An accomplished entrepreneur, teacher, and researcher, Furse replaces Ronald J. Pugmire, professor of chemical engineering, who will step down after 39 years in the position to focus on his own research and work on special projects for the Office of the Vice President for Research. Furse, who teaches electromagnetics, wireless communication, microwave engineering, and antenna design, among other subjects, is chief scientist for LiveWire Test Labs, Inc., a University spin-off company that commercializes devices to locate intermittent faults on live wires.

USTAR Construction Under Way The University and the USTAR Governing Authority broke ground in April on a $130 million sustainably designed interdisciplinary research facility, the first of four planned buildings on the University’s campus aimed at attracting some of the world’s most internationally recognized faculty and fueling Utah’s economic development activity. The James L. Sorenson Molecular Biotechnology Building is being funded through a $100-million commitment from the State of Utah along with private gifts, among them $15 million from the Sorenson Legacy Foundation and $1.25 million from the Micron Technology Foundation. State funding comes from the USTAR (Utah Science Technology and Research) initiative, a long-term economic development project that promotes world-class research facilities and research teams. The James L. Sorenson Molecular Biotechnology Building will be a 200,000-square-foot structure that will support 25 senior faculty researchers, junior faculty, and administrative and laboratory personnel.

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