University of Illinois
URBANA – After delivering a lecture in Hong Kong four years ago on musical development in children, Gary McPherson walked to a nearby restaurant. He quickly felt someone following him.
It was Tiffany Poon's father, asking for advice on how to help his daughter. She was quite talented at piano but didn't like the pedagogical approach of her former teachers – all 10 of them.
Sensing the dad was genuine, McPherson, now a professor of music education at the University of Illinois, agreed to meet his daughter. Upon first hearing Tiffany, then only 7, the professor was deeply impressed. She played from memory – not just the notes but with great expression.
URBANA – When the final bell rings on a typical weekday at Urbana High School, many students pour out of the classrooms, rushing to lockers with eagerness to be away from the building. The school is usually deserted within minutes.
But stick your head into Cobb Auditorium and you will find a group of students still there working hard. They're the cast and crew of "Pride and Prejudice," the UHS fall play, and I am one of them.
URBANA – Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., thinks bipartisanship is the answer to getting things done in politics – and thinks President-elect Barack Obama is prepared to use it as he leads the country.
Lugar, who spoke at the Illini Union on Tuesday after winning the 2007 Paul H. Douglas Ethics in Government Award, said Obama and Sen. John McCain showed bipartisanship during their time in Congress. Lugar said he spoke on the phone with the president-elect Monday to talk foreign policy.
URBANA – An anti-war rally set for noon Nov. 13 at the University of Illinois Quad will launch a series of peace events.
From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. the same day, the Quad will have the Eyes Wide Open Boot Display, sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee. That evening at 6 p.m. in Room 103 of Mumford Hall, 1301 W. Gregory Drive, U, a panel discussion, "The Legacy of GI Resistance," will feature Joe Allen, author of "Vietnam: The (Last) War the U.S. Lost"; Joe Miller, UI lecturer and member of Vietnam Veterans Against the War; and Richard Stacewicz, historian and author of "Winter Soldiers: An Oral History of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War." From 7 to 8:30 p.m., there will be testimony by Iraqis and veterans of the global war on terrorism.
CHAMPAIGN – How time flies.
Forty years ago, Letti Burt-Butler scrambled down the halls of the University of Illinois, a girl of 17 from Chicago, a black student in the UI's pioneering Project 500, which brought minorities to campus in an effort to give all Illinois students access to equal educational opportunities.
When Burt-Butler left campus, she said, she was a woman. In her years at the UI, she had grown up. Those years weren't always easy, but they were so valuable, she said. They gave her the education to become a teacher herself, and she put that education to work in Chicago's inner-city schools.
"It was wonderful," she said. "Just to have the opportunity to come here. It was wonderful, but it was traumatic, too."
URBANA – The University of Illinois College of Media will celebrate the publication of books by two faculty members at 2 p.m. Monday in the Authors Corner at the Illini Union Bookstore, 809 S. Wright St., C.
The authors are professors Lisa Nakamura and Anghy Valdivia, and the event is free and open to the public. Their book discussions will be followed by a question and answer session, book signings, refreshments and prize giveaways.
CHAMPAIGN – The University of Illinois has named Ruth Watkins as the new dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the largest college on campus.
Watkins has been a vice provost of academic affairs and professor in the Department of Speech and Hearing Science at the university.
CHAMPAIGN – With excavators scooping dirt and dust flying a few feet away, University of Illinois officials and researchers on Wednesday celebrated the building of a facility that will eventually house the world's fastest computer.
"This is where, in many ways, supercomputing was born with the birth of ILLIAC IV," said Thom Dunning, director of the National Center for Supercomputing at the University of Illinois, referring to a previous supercomputer developed at the UI. "The circle's closing with the facility that we're building," he said.
The 95,000-square-foot Blue Waters Data Processing Center is being built at the northwest corner of Oak Street and St. Mary's Road in Champaign.
URBANA – University of Illinois economist J. Fred Giertz has grim words about the state's economic prospects.
Giertz, who compiles the monthly UI flash economic index, said the index fell to 100.6 in October, the lowest reading since 100.5 in August 2004.
CHAMPAIGN – After 35 years of working for huge corporations, University of Illinois alumnus Mark Hogan is trying his hand at managing a startup.
He's the president and chief executive officer of The Vehicle Production Group, a company that's planning to design and market taxis for the mobility-impaired.