Campus briefs

Mar. 25, 2013 @ 11:22 AM

Ex-NFL player speaks at NCCU

DURHAM — Rhodes Scholar and former NFL player Myron Rolle will be the speaker at N.C. Central University’s annual honors convocation.

The event, on April 5 at 10:15 a.m. in the McDougald-McLendon Gymnasium, will recognize the academic excellence of more than 200 students.

In 2006, Rolle was ranked as the No. 1 high school football prospect in the country. He received 83 scholarship offers from Division I schools before selecting Florida State University.

Rolle made news again when he sat out his 2009 football season, choosing instead to study for a year at Oxford University in England as a Rhodes Scholar. He received his master’s degree from Oxford in medical anthropology in June 2010.

That same year, he entered the NFL draft and was selected by the Tennessee Titans in the sixth round. After being released before the start of the 2011 season, Rolle went to the Pittsburgh Steelers. He is only the third Rhodes Scholar to play in the NFL.

Now retired from pro football, Rolle is a scholar and philanthropist, heading the Myron Rolle Foundation dedicated to the support of health, wellness, educational and other charitable initiatives throughout the world that benefit children and families in need.

At the event, NCCU will confer honors to students in a number of categories, from the Chancellor’s Award and University Award recipients — the university’s top honors — to deans’ lists and departmental academic honors.

Lecture focuses on cycling, walking

CHAPEL HILL — UNC Chapel Hill’s Institute for the Environment will host a free public lecture today that will examine policies to improve the safety, convenience and feasibility of cycling and walking in sustainable cities.

John Pucher, a visiting professor at UNC’s department of city and regional planning, will focus on such topics as cycling safety, cycling infrastructure provisions including bikeways and bike parking, the wide range of bike designs and bike equipment, integration of cycling with public transportation and promoting cycling for women and children.

For more than three decades, Pucher has examined differences in travel behavior, and transport systems and policies in Europe, Canada, the United States and Australia. His more recent research has focused on walking and bicycling, and what we can learn from European cities to improve the safety and convenience of non-motorized modes of transportation.

The lecture will be at 4 p.m. in Room G-2000 of the Genome Sciences Building. 

Calderbank named to post

DURHAM — Robert Calderbank, the Phillip Griffiths professor of computer science, mathematics and electrical and computer engineering at Duke University, has been appointed director of an interdisciplinary program designed to increase "big data" computational research at the university.

The term "big data" refers to collections of information characterized by massive size, tremendous variety and rapid change. Big data overwhelms traditional software and is complicated to capture, curate, manage and process in reasonable periods of time.

The new program is called the Information Initiative at Duke.

Calderbank joined the university in 2010 to become dean of natural sciences after directing the Program in Applied and Computational Mathematics at Princeton University.

Common coming to NCCU

DURHAM — Hip-hop artist, author, actor and activist Common will appear at N.C. Central University April 4 at 6 p.m. in the McDougald – McLendon Gym.

Born Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr., Common has recorded nine studio albums, the latest of which is “The Dreamer/The Believer,” released in 2011. He also has written several children’s books focused on self-respect and love, using the cultural relevance of hip-hop.

In 2007, he launched the Common Ground Foundation, which provides opportunities for youth to learn new skills, as well as a support system that fosters personal growth and empowerment.

Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and the event starts at 7 p.m. It is free and open to the public.

Talk looks at water’s role

CHAPEL HILL — Felix Dodds, former executive director of the Stakeholder Forum for a Sustainable Future, will deliver a lecture on “The Emerging Role of Water in the Global Climate Negotiations” at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in the fourth floor conference room of UNC Chapel Hill’s FedEx Global Education Center.

The lecture will focus on the difficulty of bringing water to the forefront of global negotiations on climate change, and the role that water plays throughout the process of migration and adaptation. Dodds will also discuss the increasing challenges to water availability in the future.

Dodds’ most recent book, “Only One Earth — The Long Road via Rio to Sustainable Development,” discusses what achievements and roadblocks have occurred since the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm, Sweden, 40 years ago.

Barton honors students

WILSON — Several local students have received academic honors from Barton College.

Allison Dellinger of Durham was named to the president’s list at the school for the fall semester. To make that list, a student must have a perfect 4.0 grade point average.

Jorge Aguilera, Megan Bell, Carrie Fulton, Kathryn Lecky, Kelsey Rothwell and Timothy Steigerwald, all of Durham, and Heather Glenn, of Hillsborough, were named to the dean’s list at Barton for the fall semester.

A minimum grade point average of 3.3 is needed to make the dean’s list.

New major approved

DURHAM — Duke University’s Trinity College of Arts and Sciences Faculty Council has voted to approve the creation of a global health major and minor for undergraduates.

The vote establishes one of the country’s first liberal arts majors in global health.

The major offers students a liberal arts program that approaches global health challenges from disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives, and will be offered only as part of a double major program of study.

The global health major will begin in the fall.

Send university news to Neil Offen at or call 919-419-6646.