April 2011


DSU Professor Recounts His Experience In Japan During Earthquake

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Dr. Gabriel D. Gwanmesia, DSU professor of physics, took this photo of some damage that resulted from the March 11 earthquake in Japan, where he was doing sabbatical research.

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    Dr. Gabriel Gwanmesia and his host, Professor Toru Inoue stand in front of a high pressure press at Ehime University     Dr. Gabriel D. Gwanmesia, professor of physics, left for a two-month research sabbatical in Japan on Jan. 29, looking forward to sharing his expertise on high pressure physics with the scientists of that country and utilizing the geodynamic technology there.   Little did he know that he would be witness to the greatest earthquake to ever hit Japan.   Dr. Gwanmesia – who is also a DSU alumnus – was on a 60-day research fellowship funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science on March 11 and was just leaving a dedication ceremony for a new high pressure neutron lab in the village of Tokai-Mura in Japan’s Ibaraki Prefecture.   The DSU physics professor said he knows almost the exact time he first felt the 9.0 magnitude earthquake – 2:48 p.m. Japan time – because he almost instinctually pointed his camera at a wall clock and took a picture of its hands position.   Just before that he was in an elevator, which the earthquake caused to hit against the shaft wall surrounding it.   “The elevator stopped at the 2nd floor and when the doors opened, I dove out,” Dr. Gwanmesia said.   He said Tokai-Mura – just north of Tokyo in the central part of the country – was about 150 miles from the epicenter of the earthquake. And while that Japanese village was out of harm’s way from the raging tsunami that ravaged northern Japan, it still suffered significant damage from the powerful quake tremors.   The above photo taken by Dr. Gwanmesia shows the damage to roads wrought by the earthquake. Dr. Gwanmesia said he and the other people who were in the lab all poured outside, where the damage was already apparent.   “The vibrations were very severe, causing significant damage to buildings and creating cracks and breaks in the road pavement,” Dr. Gwanmesia said.   During his two-month fellowship, the DSU physics professor was residing mostly on the Japanese island of Matsuyama on the southern end of the country – which was not directly impacted by the earthquake. As fate would have it, he and his host had flown to Tokyo to get to the neutron lab dedication on the same day as the quake.   Their plan to return to Matsuyama that day was delayed. That night Dr. Gwanmesia spent the night with 50 other people in an emergency shelter.   He said the Japanese people were clearly shaken by the quake and resulting damage, but were not frantic or disorderly.   “There was no electricity or running water, but when resources like blankets and other things were made available, there was no fighting or rushing to get them,” Dr. Gwanmesia said. “People just patiently waited their turn.”   The following day, the DSU professor’s host managed to get him back to Tokyo where he was able to catch a plane to return to Matsuyama. Once back there, he proceeded to complete the rest of his fellowship research at Ehime University, located on that island. During his trip, Dr. Gwanmesia observed the process by which a high pressure press converted graphite into the above diamonds.   In the days following the initial quake, Dr. Gwanmesia said he received “tons” of email from worried friends and family urging him to get out of the country.   “I just laughed because (in Matsuyama) we were so far away from the area that was really hit by the earthquake,” he said.   Dr. Gwanmesia said it is a Japanese health custom for people to wear face masks when they have a cold to prevent its spread. He laughingly recalled that one of his nieces saw a Japanese man wearing a mask during the news coverage of the quake, prompting her to write her uncle and tell him to wear a mask to protect him from the danger of radiation.   “Matsuyama was far from the radiation danger area,” Dr. Gwanmesia said. “And even if we were in the danger area, radiation passes through the body. A face mask would provide no protection.”   Far removed from the danger, Dr. Gwanmesia continued his research work that involved utilizing Ehime University’s geophysics facility to produce synthetic minerals he could bring back to DSU and continue his study of materials that exist deep in the earth.   Because those minerals deep in the earth cannot be accessed, scientists have to create synthetic versions of the same minerals to study.   Professor Hitoshi Yusa (l) shows Dr. Gwanmesia a lab during a visit to Japan's National Institute for Material Science. “Such studies allow us to understand the causes of earthquakes,” Dr. Gwanmesia said.   The physics professor said his research interests in mineral physics are dedicated to understanding the behavior of sound waves as they travel through different materials. In addition to gaining a better understanding concerning how the earth has evolved, data from such study can yield valuable information in evaluating the causes of earthquakes, hurricanes or other natural disasters.   In addition to creating synthetic material for his future research, Dr. Gwanmesia also observed the high pressure conversion of graphite into diamonds at the Geodynamic Research Center at Ehime University.   Dr. Gwanmesia earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physics and Mathematics from then-Delaware State College in 1985, and went on to obtain a Ph.D. in Geophysics (Mineral Physics) from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. A native of Cameroon, West Africa, Dr. Gwanmesia has been a DSU faculty member since 1991.  

Three DSU Alumni Inducted into Del. Afro-American Sports Hall of Fame

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DSU President Harry L. Williams (2nd from right) celebrates with DSU's latest inductees into the Del. Afro-American Sports Hall of Fame: (l-r) James Solomon, Norman Oliver and Jimmy Strong.

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           Jimmy Strong     Three alumni of Delaware State University were among the 2011 inductee class of the Delaware Afro-America Sports Hall of Fame (DAASHF) during a ceremony on April 16 at the Modern Maturity Center in Dover.   Among the DSU inductees were:   Former Hornet football star Jimmy Strong, class of ’66 – The DAASHF recognized him for his stellar years as an All-Conference (CIAA) honoree at two positions: punter (1962-64) and defensive back (1961,1964). He finished his Delaware State College career with 28 interceptions and a 43-yard punting average. After playing football for the Wilmington Clippers (1966-1967), Mr. Strong returned to DSC in   James H. Solomon, Jr. 1968 where he served over the next 11 years as a Hornet assistant football coach. The resident of Ellenwood, Ga., was inducted in the DSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1988.     James Solomon, class of 1990 and 2007, was inducted for the athletics mark he has made as a boys and girls track coach for 24 years at Dover High School. During that time, he has coached his teams to five state championships and six times as runner-up. At the conference level, his teams have won eight dual meets and 10 conference meets. During Coach Solomon’s tenure, he coached high school athletes who were ranked nationally and some of whom would go on to intercollegiate career where they were nationally ranked as well. The Dover resident was named as state Coach of the Year five times, conference Coach of the Year three times and in 2000 he as named as the National Girls Coach representing Delaware.         Norman Oliver     Norman “Stormin” Oliver, class of 1985, was inducted for his work as an athletics administrator through his founding of the Stormin’ Classic Basketball Summer League, which ran from 1980 (the year in which he founded it at age 18) to 2000. Beginning with 54 youth participants in its inaugural year, by the summer league’s 20th year there were 3,000 participants. It is the only summer basketball league in Delaware operating statewide. Many of the students who have participated in the Oliver’s summer league – of which education was the most important component – went on to successful careers and thriving lives. Mr. Oliver resides in Wilmington.   DSU's Ricki Ellison served as the event's mistress of ceremonies. Ricki Ellison, DSU women’s bowling coach, served as the mistress of ceremonies for the 13th annual DAASHF ceremony.  

DSU Celebrates Earth Day; Go Green Work Noted in two National Reports

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DSU President Harry L. Williams celebrates Earth Day with children from the University's Child Development Lab.

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Read more and check out the great photos.   DSU celebrated Earth Day a little early on April 20 with a series of activities that celebrated the University’s commitment to be an institutional example in its “Going Green” efforts (see the below photo slide show).   The day began with a “Green Eggs and Ham” breakfast followed by a program, both in the Martin Luther King Student Center. The Program featured addresses from DSU President Harry L. Williams, Dover Mayor Carleton Carey and DSU SGA President Kathleen Charlot. Encouraging words also came from Jack Tarburton, state USDA director, Scott Lynch, Delaware Energy Office director, William Neaton, director of economic development for the city of Dover, and Amir Mohammadi, DSU vice president of Finance & Administration.   The program also featured a song and poem performance by the DSU Early Childhood Care Lab School children. A number of environmentally conscious entities set up tables in the MLK Student Center as well. Later in the afternoon, the SGA sponsored a “Campus Clean-up” and the Green Ambassadors student group promoted recycling.   Delaware State University’s Go Green Initiative has been highlighted in the annual report of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) as well as in the Minority-Serving Institution (MSI) Green Report. DSU was among nine that were chosen to be featured out of 660 institutions that have committed to reducing their carbon footprint and aggressively pursue sound environmental practices.   Identified by the ACUPCC as an institution in “good standing,” DSU is noted in the organization’s recently release annual report for being a leading institution in sustainability initiatives. The report highlights the diverse DSU Go Green agenda, including the establishment of a strong steering committee as well as a student Green Ambassador organization on campus.   The report recognized DSU Go Green initiative for being highlighted in articles in Jet Magazine and Black College Today, for having two students selected to be EPA OnCampus Ambassadors to promote environmentally conscientious initiatives on campus, as well as for participating in a side event hosted by the United Negro College Fund and Second Nature during the United Nations’ climate negotiations in December 2010 in Cancun, Mexico.   The recently released MSI report also recognizes DSU as being a charter member of the Sustainability Tracking and Assessment Rating System, as well as being the only HBCU with a representative on the advisory board. The report also notes the University’s distribution of reusable mugs to freshmen, the dissemination of green tips in the campus newsletter,the campus composting of pre- and post-consumer food scraps, as well as a green-office competition.   “We are pleased that DSU’s efforts to do its part to preserve the environment and set an example for other institutions of higher education has been recognized in these two reports,” said DSU President Harry L. Williams. “The University takes it commitment to reduce its carbon footprint seriously and will continue to do so.”   DSU launched its environmental agenda in August 2009 when the institution joined the ACUPCC and soon thereafter established its Go Green Steering Committee.            The DSU Go Green Committee is led by its chair, Vita Pickrum, associate vice president of Development at DSU. You can access a YouTube clip featuring an interview of Ms. Pickrum about the DSU Go Green initiative by visiting: http://www.youtube.com/secondnatureboston#p/c/DC8ECC2654538112/3/9ZNF8YwF5HA. Upon reaching that webpage, click on Ms. Pickrum's photo on the right next to the title "Resources and Support in Fulfilling..."  

DSU Equestrian Team Selected for National Tourney

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The DSU equestrian team has been selected for the fourth straight year to compete in the national tourney. For the first time, both the english and western DSU riders have chosen for the April 14-16 tournament in Waco, Tx.

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    Alicia Maynard will compete in the Western category of the national tourney.     For the first time in its five-year history, the Delaware State equestrian team will send its English and Western squads to the 2011 Varsity Equestrian National Championship April 14-16 in Waco, Texas.   The Hornet equestrian team has been to the national tournament in the previous three years, but this is the first year that both the English and the Western squads have been selected.   “This is the result of five years of hard work,” said Jennifer Ridgely,  who is in her fifth year as the DSU equestrian head coach. “We have seven seniors on the team this year. What a way for them to go out!”   Delaware State is seeded 11th in the 12-team field for the national English (Hunter Seat) championship. This is the third tournament selection for the Hornets' English squad, which also competed in the 2008 and '09 competition. Amanda Holtz, western rider   Delaware State is the No. 12 seed in this year's Western tournament. The Hornets are in the championship field for the second straight year after earning its first selection in 2010.   DSU's case for the national championship tournament was strengthened by team wins over perennial powers South Carolina and New Mexico State. South Carolina is the No. 5 seed in this year's VENC Western field and No. 6 in the English competition. New Mexico State's Western and English teams were also selected for the 2011 national tournament.             Kayla Blair, english rider “The idea of going out and competing against the big teams has really paid off, because the tournament officials look hard at the strength of the schedule,” Coach Ridgely said. “This was our most successful year against bigger schools.”     DSU also had strong showings against tournament qualifiers Baylor and Tennessee Martin this season.      The Hornet equestrians will face South Carolina in the tourney's opening round.            

DSU, UD, Delaware Tech Reaffirm Partnership Commitment

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UD President Patrick T. Harker, DSU President Harry L. Williams, Gov. Jack Markell and Delaware Tech President Orlando J. George Jr. display the Partnership Proclamation they each signed reaffirming their commitment to collaborate as public institutions of higher education partners to strengthen the First State. 

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    Delaware State University, along with the University of Delaware and Delaware Technical & Community College, joined with Gov. Jack Markell to emphasize the unique partnership among the public institutions of higher education in the First State.   DSU President Harry L. Williams, UD President Patrick T. Harker and Delaware Tech President Orlando J. George Jr. along with Gov. Markell signed a proclamation that reaffirms the three institutions’ commitment to partner in ways that will support, enhance and protect the future of the state of Delaware. DSU President Harry L. Williams -- flanked by (l-r) Gov. Jack Markell, UD President Patrick T. Harker and Delaware Tech President Orlando J. George Jr. -- noted that Delaware is a great environment for such higher education partnerships.   “This collaboration plays out in two ways – one is for students…, and the other has to do with faculty,” Gov. Markell said. He noted that students will benefit by the connective collaboration between Delaware Tech and the two four-year institutions in ways that will facilitate the continuation of their academic journey. The governor added that the partnership of faculty members in research will make a powerful case that federal funding would be effectively used in Delaware.   Dr. Williams said Delaware provides a great environment for such partnerships.   “We are fortunate to be in Delaware; elsewhere there are states that are cutting funding to higher education,” Dr. Williams said. “We want the governor to know that we appreciate his support and that we are working together and will continue to do so.”   Dr. George used the example of math education to show how the institutions are collaborating toward the academic success of students.   “At DelawareTech, math students take courses up to calculus, and they are ready to be junior at either of the institutions and continue working towards a math education degree,” Dr. George said. “We have been doing (such collaborations) for some time now; this was an opportunity today to tell this story in a very public setting.”   Dr. Harker said such higher education partnerships are the standard in Delaware.   “If we can’t work together in this small state, we’re in trouble,” Dr. Harker said.