Campus briefs

Feb. 25, 2013 @ 09:38 PM

Author to receive award

DURHAM — Alexander McCall Smith, bestselling author of the “No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” series, will receive the 2013 Duke LEAF Award for Lifetime Environmental Achievement in the Fine Arts.

Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment will present the award to McCall Smith during a 4 p.m. ceremony on April 12, in the Bryan Center's Griffith Film Theater. The hour-long program will include McCall Smith talking about his work as well as music and dance performances.

The Duke LEAF has been given annually since 2009 to an artist whose work lifts the human spirit by conveying our connections to the Earth, inspiring others to help forge a more sustainable future for all.

The event is free and open to the public. Tickets are required and will be distributed through the Duke Box Office. Information is available at


Karr to read

CHAPEL HILL — Mary Karr, author of The New York Times bestselling memoir "The Liars' Club," will present a free public reading from her works Wednesday at UNC Chapel Hill.

The 2013 Distinguished Writer-in-Residence, Karr will read at 7:30 p.m. in G-100, the auditorium on the lower/ground floor of the Genome Sciences Building.

In "The Liars' Club," "Cherry" and "Lit," Karr created a trilogy of memoirs that follows her from a troubled childhood in southeast Texas to her terrifying and sometimes hilarious circus of adolescence and sexual awakening, and finally through her struggles with alcoholism and her conversion to Catholicism.

She also has written four volumes of poetry — "Abacus," "The Devil's Tour," "Viper Rum" and "Sinners Welcome" — and is a recognized songwriter. In 2011, she teamed up with Rodney Crowell to record the album "Kin," featuring Roseanne Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Norah Jones and many others.


National security focus of conference

DURHAM — Experts and advocates from the military, human rights organizations, government, business and academia will examine new and ongoing questions that arise at the juncture of law, ethics and national security during a conference Friday and Saturday at Duke University Law School.

The annual conference, “Battlefields, Boardrooms and Backyards: The New Face of National Security Law,” will feature discussions of issues such as cyberwar, piracy, technology, military commissions, civil-military relations and how defense and business relate in the global marketplace

Among the highlights is a panel discussion on the legal and ethical questions involved in the deployment of robotic weapons, featuring Human Rights Watch’s Tom Malinowski and professor Wolff Heintschel von Heinegg of the U.S. Naval War College.

The conference takes place in Room 3041 at Duke Law School. For more information, visit


Thorp honored

CHAPEL HILL — Nourish International has presented its first Impact Award to Chancellor Holden Thorp of UNC Chapel Hill.

The group honored Thorp as part of the celebration of its 10th anniversary. The chancellor was recognized for his work with innovation and student entrepreneurs.

Nourish International began at UNC as Hunger Lunch, founded by students Sindhura Citenini and Joel Thomas in 2003. The students sold an inexpensive meal of rice, beans and cornbread and used the profits to fund a nutrition initiative in Hyderabad, India.

Since then, the nonprofit organization has spread to 25 countries and 28 universities to launch social businesses, called ventures, and invest the profits in community based, sustainable development projects.


Local students excel

GREENSBORO — A number of local students were named to the Chancellor’s List at UNC Greensboro for the fall semester. To make the chancellor’s list, students must have at least a 3.65 grade point average.

The students included Jaclyn Sassa of Bahama and Kimberly Anderson, Cecily Marino and Carlyn McKisson, of Rougemont.

From Durham, the students honored were Jacqueline Bennett, Tia Coffin, Kristen Crutchfield, Binh Duong, Oscar Esperanza, Samantha Green, Aaron Gross, Meredith Harris, Nisha Kamath, Seulah Lee, Alison Lloyd, Jessica MacNair, Ian Mayton, Jeanine McClain, Michael Minervini, Melissa Perez, Lyndsey Peterson, Stephanie Principe, Caitlin Shepherd, Huili Simpson, Majesty Smith, Rebecca Teich-Mcgoldrick, Jillian Troxler and Nina Videau.


Ambasssador to speak

DURHAM — The South Sudan's ambassador will talk about food security during a public symposium Thursday at Duke University.
"Food Security in Africa: The Case for South Sudan" is free and open to the public, and takes place from 1-5 p.m. in Goodson Chapel at Duke's Divinity School.

The goal of the event is to foster new relationships and collaborations that will expand opportunities in education and research in Africa for Duke students and faculty. The conference will give attention to the complex cultural, political, economic and environmental issues facing South Sudan in the wake of more than 20 years of civil war. 

Akec Khoc, ambassador of the Republic of South Sudan, will give the keynote address, and Duke President Richard Brodhead will give the welcome. Norman Wirzba, research professor of theology, ecology and rural life at the Divinity School, will moderate the conference.

For information, visit or email Mary Eubanks at


Free tax help available

CHAPEL HILL — Volunteers at UNC Chapel Hill will provide free income tax return preparation for people with incomes less than $51,000 at clinics held through March 24.

School of Law Volunteer Income Tax Assistance — law and master of accounting students and a few undergraduates — will provide this voluntary service for the Carolina and Chapel Hill communities. VITA will also sponsor a website where individuals with incomes less than $57,000 may prepare their own taxes online.

Volunteers will provide services on Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. There will be no clinics the week of UNC spring break, March 9-17.

Appointments are required for this service and all sessions will be held only at UNC School of Law. To register for an appointment, visit

For information, visit


Futhey re-appointed

DURHAM — Tracy Futhey has been re-appointed as vice president for information technology and chief information officer for Duke University.

Futhey's reappointment followed the second regular review of her performance by a committee chaired by Tim Walsh, vice president for finance. Senior officer appointments are renewed annually by the Board of Trustees with a full review after four years.

As vice president of information technology, Futhey provides oversight of the Office of Information Technology, which supports the university community's information daily technology needs, while also providing core technology infrastructure and support for Duke University Health System in partnership with Duke Health Technology Solutions.


Walton named to post

DURHAM — Anita Walton, director of alumni relations at N.C. Central University, is the new chair of CASE District III Board of Directors.

CASE is the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, an international professional association for education fundraising, marketing/communications and alumni relations staff. District III is the second largest of eight CASE districts.


Nigerian author lectures

CHAPEL HILL — Critically acclaimed author Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie will discuss how writing has the power to produce change and make a difference in the world struggle for human rights at a lecture today at UNC Chapel Hill.

Adichie's work includes poetry, short fiction and novels that have earned her numerous awards. Her first novel, "Purple Hibiscus," won the Commonwealth Writer's Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. Her second book, "Half of a Yellow Sun," re-creates a seminal moment in modern African history — Biafra's secessionist struggle to establish an independent republic in Nigeria and the violence that followed.

Adichie's talk will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Nelson Mandela Auditorium at the FedEx Global Education Center.


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