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Fall 2014

NASA Had a Test


Photograph Submitted

And we were the only ones to pass it. This summerNASA decided to test how well collegiate engineering teams could get their robots through a course called the Sample Return Robot Challenge. Of the 17 teams who competed, the Mountaineers — in their first time out — were the only ones to complete it. Not only that, but it’s one of four robotics competitions in which WVUcame out on top against competitors such as MIT.

WVUToday Story

Doors Wide Open to Art

Blanche Lazzell painting

This artwork by Blanche Lazzell, a native of West Virginia known for her woodblock prints, is one of nearly 3,000 from the WVU art collection that could grace the new Art Museum opening to the public later next year. Also keep an eye out for works by world-famous artists such as Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol and Ansel Adams. (Blanche Lazzell, The Graveyard, 1918, Color woodblock print on Japan paper mounted on Japan paper, 7 3/4×9 1/8 inches, The J. Bernard Schultz Fund.)

WVU Art Museum

WVU’s International Homestart Closet


The closet was founded by Jennifer McIntosh, special assistant to WVU’s vice president for federal relations, to provide kitchen supplies and home furnishings to international students and their families setting up their first residence in the U.S.

“This is our way to let people know how much we care.”— Jennifer McIntosh
Homestart Closet Website

Fruit Flies Smell?

Fruit Flies

They sure do.

A fly that could just about fit on the width of a nickel may be the key to rerouting our brains. It gets even smaller than that. The fruit flies’ sense of smell — a tiny little piece of their tiny, little brains — when altered can explain how brain pathways adapt. Biology researcher Andrew Dacks likens the process to a road map. We all have this road map in our nervous system. But sometimes the neuron cars take different routes. Now we just have to see how well the cars take direction.

WVUToday Story

The Cuddly Offer You Won’t Refuse


Marlon Brando works at WVU. Not the world-famous actor. The 5-year-old Labradoodle that is dogfather and therapy dog for the thousands of students in the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources. It’s not easy to become an engineer, as the dual major in civil and mechanical engineering — specializing in stress — can attest. But his mom, a freshman engineering adviser, lets him share his thoughts on Twitter. He’s not the first therapy dog on campus. That honor goes to a canine worker at the Carruth Center for Psychological and Psychiatric Services named Gretel. Follow Marlon @WVUDOGFATHER

Video on WVU's Therapy Dogs

Quote Solo

“I couldn’t think of the word for ink cartridge.”— Christine Tall

Tall, of Morgantown, had a stroke in June. She recognized her symptoms after attending a WVU stroke awareness talk, quickly received care from the WVUStroke Team and suffered no permanent damage. The University is continuing to fight the devastating effects of stroke with research conducted through a recently awarded $10.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. This federal support will support researchers in understanding more about strokes and enhancing patient care.

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Shoe’s Clues

Pile of Shoes

In a courtroom near you, there might be an expert using a shoe print as evidence that someone was at the site of a crime scene. Forensic and investigative science Assistant Professor Jacqueline Speir is working to understand this technique. Her research team has received mountains of shoes and is scanning the soles to examine the similarities between shoes and unique identifiers such as tears and nicks that set our shoes apart. Speir is looking at the strength of the connection between shoe print and identifying the shoe that left it, and how shoe print comparisons could stand up in court.

WVUToday Story

Landscape Architecture Program Turns 50


WVU’s Landscape Architecture program celebrated 50 years this fall. In that time students have been trained in one of the best and most affordable programs in the country. The program is developing design projects that are rejuvenating the state, such as this year’s project to design, in tandem with the community, recreational and educational trails in McDowell County, West Virginia.

Landscape Architecture Program

Number of International Students in Freshman Class


WVU has students from more than 100 countries. The nation outside the U.S. with the most students atWVU? Saudi Arabia with 450.

WVUToday Story

Lucy in the Sky With Diamond Stars


There’s a star that is so cold it’s turned to diamond, sayWVU astronomers who were part of the team that discovered it. Still much hotter than your oven, this star’s carbon is believed to have crystalized much like the diamonds you see during engagement season. It may be the coldest, faintest star ever observed by humans. While diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, this diamond star the size of Earth is somewhat unglamorously known as “white dwarf star in orbit with pulsar PSR J2222-0137.”

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Digital Mountaineers

U.S. News & World Report named the Executive MBAprogram 23rd in its list of the 2014 Best Online Programs. But it wasn ‘t the only one t o make the list. Education was ranked 31st, Engineering was ranked 54th and Nursing was ranked 65th.

WVUToday Story

On Pins and Needles

Woman sewing


You may have visited an acupuncturist, but have you gone to a doctor who provides acupuncture? WVU is one of the first in the nation to offer a residency in medical acupuncture and is treating several patients each week at the Health Sciences Center with this form of Eastern medicine. Dr. Kendra Unger saw the need to offer another option for patients seeking pain relief and started the program with the help of the Martin G. Gallagher Acupuncture fund through the WVUFoundation. “Practicing acupuncture has really changed how I look at patients and their lives,” she said. “It’s sad when people can’t play with their grandkids, go to the grocery store or do their laundry because their back hurts or they have too many migraines. That’s what inspires me to do this — patients.”

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The Nightmare Before the Dentist Visit

Dentist pulling teeth

Do dental mirrors give you the creeps? Are you afraid of what happens after a dentist asks you to say, “aah?” A clinical psychologist at WVU is doing something about this by developing ways to assuage fears of dentistry, something that approximately 15 percent of people have that keeps them from getting proper dental care. Daniel W. McNeil walks patients through the process of teeth cleaning using videos and introduces them to a dental setting before they get a light teeth cleaning. It may not sound complicated, but it’s alleviating a fear that’s been around since, well, dentistry itself.

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Mom, Where Do Stars Come From?


Actually, scientists have had trouble finding the fuel that makes stars. Only about 10 percent of the gas that creates new stars is visible. But this year it was reported that a WVU astronomer found a previously undetected potential source of stars. D.J. Pisano discovered — using West Virginia’s Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope — what is believed to be a river of hydrogen in space that’s never been seen before.

WVUToday Story

Do You Kazoo?


When some members of The Pride of West Virginia couldn’t get enough of music by performing in the marching band, they started the Kazoo Corps. The student club started as a band skit when a group played “Hail to the Chief,” and it continues with practice sessions at the Creative Arts Center with the energetic humming of songs like “Call Me Maybe.”

WVUToday Story

They’ve Got a Song to Sing

People singing

Brian Persinger

The brand-new musical theatre degree program atWVU this fall admitted its first students and held its first show, “Street Scene.” Students in the program spend time honing their music and performance crafts and will graduate with a bachelor of fine arts before giving their regards to Broadway.

WVUToday Story

A New Home Sweet Home

Girl on yoga mat

Brian Persinger

You probably remember walking the circular hallways of the Coliseum on your way to sport classes. As of this fall, students in the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences are taking classes in the brand-new Health and Education Building near the Student Recreation Center.

CPASS Website

Nobel Prize Winning Author’s Papers Now at WVU


Nobel laureate and West Virginia native Pearl S. Buck left behind more than 60 boxes of manuscripts of her work that are now housed at the WVU Libraries as part of a partnership with the Pearl S. Buck Birthplace Foundation and West Virginia Wesleyan College. Buck was only one of two American women to win both the Nobel and Pulitzer prizes in literature – the other is Toni Morrison. Her collection contains manuscripts of her books, editorials for  The New York Times and  The Atlantic Monthly and handwritten originals and edits of her work.

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A New Kind of Media College

Reed logo

A name change was one of many progressive steps that have taken place at the Reed College of Media, formerly the P.I. Reed School of Journalism. The college, which turned 75 this year, created the Alexis and Jim Pugh Media Innovation Lab, an open, flexible environment that offers students access to the latest media technology while fostering creativity and product development.

WVUToday Story

Rockefeller Signing Off

Jay Rockefeller and Gordon Gee

M.G. Ellis

Sen. John D. “Jay” Rockefeller IV, D-W.Va., at the end of his 30-year career as U.S. senator from West Virginia, announced the naming of the John D. Rockefeller IV School of Policy and Politics at WVU. He has also designated the WVU Libraries as the home of his senatorial archives. A gallery at the Libraries was named in his honor when he visited the University this fall. Read the  Last Word with Rockefeller.

The Last Word

Marriage Equality Comes to West Virginia

Equals sign When West Virginia became one of the most recent states to allow same-sex marriage, WVU’s health insurer, the West Virginia Public Employees Insurance Agency, extended benefits to same-sex married couples. WVU President E. Gordon Gee offered congratulations to West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin for deciding to no longer defend the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, saying, “It is a thoughtful reminder to our campus community — regardless of your beliefs — that we must always respect people’s differences and promote a campus climate that promotes opportunity, equality, civility and respect for all.”

Sarandon Comes to Campus

Chris Sarandon

Raymond Thompson

You probably know him as the cruel yet pithy Prince Humperdinck in “The Princess Bride,” or maybe you’ve seen him in “Dog Day Afternoon” or “Fright Night.”WVU theatre students got to know him as director. This fall, alumnus Chris Sarandon, BFA, ’64, Theatre, directed a handful of students in staged readings of the play “Not Someone Like Me,” the first time this play about real stories of sexual assault had been performed on a college campus.

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Righting a Wrong

Justice statue

After spending 18 years behind bars, an innocent man was released from prison because of the West Virginia Innocence Project at the College of Law. Kenneth Manns became the first client to be granted parole through the WVU project. He was serving a life sentence on a conviction of first-degree murder and sexual assault, but he was released after it was shown that faulty forensic evidence was used to convict him.

WVUToday Story

Matter of Fact Archive

Fall 2014

From the new art museum to acupuncture to shoe research, there’s a lot happening at WVU.

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Fall 2015

The WVU Beckley campus opened, an alumna took a case to the U.S. Supreme Court and new students prepared for zombie wars. Catch these and so much more in Matter of Fact.

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Fall 2016

WVU surpassed $1 billion in its State of Minds campaign and the robotics team was again the only team to win NASA's competition.

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Fall 2017

One alumna beat the pros in the Food Network show "Cooks vs. Cons" and another alumnus was on flights measuring Hurricane Irma. See what else is cookin' among WVU faculty, staff, students and alumni.

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Spring 2015

A 94-year-old grad. An artificial hand that works like a real one. A tree from Isaac Newton’s backyard. Learn about these and more.

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Spring 2016

This issue, the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute prepares to open, a professor takes cameras into classrooms and Morgantown breaks ground on a new $30-million swimming, diving and track complex.

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Spring 2017

We bid farewell to Arnold Hall, "meet the press" and applaud WVU's online grad program in software engineering.

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Summer 2016

Mountaineers went first in assisting with flood relief efforts in West Virginia this summer.

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Summer 2017

An ice drilling team took home top honors in a NASA competition, the sports management graduate program is ranked 10th in the U.S., and an alumna wrote the book on pepperoni rolls.

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