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The Weekly Blab

The Weekly Blab

Volume 6, Issue 23—March 12, 2012


Back to Work!

I hope everyone had a pleasant spring break.  I was still working on Monday through Wednesday, trying to clear my desk from the various stuff that always accumulates over the course of the semester.  I was going to take Thursday and Friday off, but it turned out I had to come in for two hours on Thursday to take care of some last minute business. 

Anyway, the long weekend was still good.  Friday was spent vegging out at home, but Saturday was too nice to stay in, so we loaded up the car and drove up to Cartersville, where the Booth Museum (an excellent museum of Western art) was hosting a cowboy festival.  Cartersville is a nice town with a number of interesting older buildings downtown, and some nice fancier homes just outside of that.  We looked around for a bit, and then had lunch at the Swheat Market Deli (no, that’s not a typo) on East Main Street.  I’d never eaten there before, but the lady selling girl scout cookies at the entrance to downtown recommended it, as did my iPhone “tripadvisor” app, so in we went.  The food was fine and (I’m told) pure organic, and when we sat down at out table, within two minutes someone came up calling my name.  It turned out to be Steve Dougherty, the president of North Georgia Technical College, who we have worked with for the past several years on SPSU’s articulation with the TCSG, who was eating lunch there with his wife and a visiting faculty member.  Small world.  We went up from there to the Booth Museum, where several outfits had just finished doing a chuck wagon type cookout—interesting to see how they did it, compared to what I’d seen in old westerns on TV. 

It was really too nice a day to spend inside a museum, so we decided to drive to Rome instead.  Earlier in the week at the Wednesday Rotary meeting, the guest speaker had been the president of Berry College, Stephen R. Briggs, who talked about the college, its history, and its mission.  He gave each Rotarian a hardcover history of the college as well as some brochures, so I decided I needed to go there to see the place.  What had interested me was that the buildings on the brochure looked like an English manor, which reminded me of my first Sabbatical that was spent teaching in England at a college that had a similar look. 

Berry’s website bills the college as “the world’s largest campus”, and it’s certainly the biggest that I’ve ever seen.  Wikipedia says that the campus is 26,000 acres (110 km2), which would make it larger than Manhattan.   The English manor part of campus (which dates back to around 1930) is made up of Ford Auditorium, Ford Alumni Center, the Admission Office, Clara Hall, Ford Dining Hall, and Mary Hall, all of which collectively frame a very nice set of open greens.  The main part of campus is a bit more modern, and consists of another 22 or so academic buildings.  The overall campus was pretty impressive and left me wondering how they can afford the upkeep with only some 2000 students.  Then I read that they have an endowment of more than $500 million, so I guess that explains it.

There were signs all over campus about a wedding that was being held that day, so we decided to follow the signs and see where that took us.  After three miles of wildlife refuge (and it seemed like much longer) that is also part of the college, we passed Mirror and Swan Lakes and finally ran into the wedding, being held at Frost Memorial Chapel on Berry’s Mountain Campus.  The road continued on after that, but I’m not sure how far, since that’s as far as we went.  A little math will tell you that there are 13 acres for each Berry student, which is plenty of elbow-room.  It’s a beautiful campus, and if you’ve never been there, it’s well worth the trip.

On the way home, Mark wanted to stop at Wal-Mart to see if they had some Skylander figures (used in a videogame) he needed, and I wound up buying my own latest toy--a Roku internet television streamer.  It's great, and I'll probably bore you all to death about it in a future BLAB.

Sunday was our normal shopping day.  Found a few interesting CD's I didn't have, so life was good.  Then on Monday, back to work!

More Good Things

Congratulations to SPSU’s Social Business Team, which you may recall won 1st place last semester at statewide Social Business and Microcredit Forum (where 38 teams competed to develop a social business).  On Saturday, March 3rd, the team competed at Georgia Gwinett in a follow-up event in front of a group of venture capitalists.  Two winning teams were selected, and SPSU was one of them.  They now go on to round three of the competition, a ten week Village Capital-Atlanta Funding Competition, in which the two winning teams go up against 10 additional private entrepreneurs, for an award of $50,000.  SPSU’s team consisted of students Sanal Doshi, Fred Arnold, Chris Estrada, Becky Stringer, and Joelle Day (all from the MS in Accounting and MBA programs), ably advised by Don Ariail (Business Administration).  Great job guys!  Now back to work, and bring home the money!

Congratulations also to Meg Dillon (Mathematics), who has been selected for a Fulbright Specialists Award!  Meg will teach in the cursus anglophone program in France at the Université de Technologie Belfort-Montbéliard, and also give a series of lectures on Mathematics history and pedagogy.  She is one of 400 faculty nationwide who will travel abroad through the Fulbright Specialists Program to support curricular and faculty development worldwide.


Polytechnic Summit

Planning for the Polytechnic Summit continues apace, with 47 abstracts having been submitted to date.  The long-distance winner so far (and it will be hard to beat) is from Bahrain Polytechnic University, on the Arabian Gulf.  If you haven’t yet submitted your abstract, the committee has extended the deadline until March 26 (if you want to submit a full paper to also be published in the Spring issue of the Journal of Polytechnic Studies), and April 23 (if you just want to present at the Summit), so there’s still time to get it in.  We’d also like to see more students presenting their capstone, honors, and research projects, so please encourage your students to participate.  Students who present get to attend the conference (and get their meals) for free.  Faculty who present get a substantial discount on the conference fee--from $275 reduced to $165. 

A really cool thing is that on Thursday night (June 7), the Summit's gala event will be a visit to the Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville, GA, which will include a buffet dinner and the planetarium show "Trip Trhough Space" (a tour of several constellations found in the evening sky, the Solar System, stars, nebulae, galaxies, and more).  The museum and its exhibits will also be open and available for viewing.  It should be a great night.

If you’d like to register for the Summit, which will be held June 6-8, please do so now.  Contact your Chair or Dean about funding, and call 7240 to register.


Last Week’s Trivia Contest

Last week’s contest was in honor of leap year, with the questions all having to do with leaping.  There were lots of entrants, many of whom pointed out an error in question 1 (though everyone knew, of course, what I actually meant).  Obviously, I’ve fallen behind in my caroling.  The winner was Marietta Monaghan (Architecture), the first with a fabulous five correct.  The correct answers are below.

  1. The present for the tenth day of Christmas. Ten lords a’ leaping.
  2. Children’s game where they jump over each other. Leap Frog.
  3. Phrase meaning: Be careful—there may be danger ahead! Look Before You Leap.
  4. Really good 1992 movie starring Steve Martin and Debra Winger.  Leap of Faith.
  5. One of Little Orphan Annie’s favorite expressions.  Leapin’ Lizards!


This Weeks Trivia Challenge

In honor of the season, each of this week’s answers has the word spring (or a derivative) in it.  No looking up the answers now!

  1. Common ailment for teen-age boys this time of year
  2. Singer from Asbury Park, NJ
  3. Broadway Show within a Mel Brooks movie, written to lose lots of money but causes problems when it becomes a major hit
  4. Rodgers and Hammerstein’s ho-hum solute to the season
  5. Mary Isabel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien’s better known name.