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8 1/2 x 11 Newsletter - September 24, 2009

September 24, 2009
Vol. 20, No. 13

In this issue:

Featured Events

  • Saturday, Sept. 26: "COINTELSHOW: A Patriot Act." 9:30 p.m., Waffle Shop, 124 S. Highland Avenue in East Liberty. The discussion will be led by Michael Chemers, assistant professor of drama; Special Agent Christian White; and Larry Bogad, a distinguished lecturer in performance and politics at the University of California at Davis, and author of "Electoral Guerrilla Theatre: Radical Ridicule and Social Movements." The evening is co-sponsored by the Center for the Arts in Society and the Humanities Center. For more:
  • Tuesday, Sept. 29: Carnegie Mellon's Phi Beta Kappa chapter, Upsilon of Pennsylvania, will induct 14 seniors who have been selected for early initiation into the Phi Beta Kappa Society at 5 p.m. in Kresge Theater, College of Fine Arts Building. William "Red" Whittaker, the Fredkin University Research Professor of Robotics, will give the keynote address. A reception will follow in CFA's Great Hall.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 30: Center for Economic Development panel presentation, featuring leaders of the region's top development organizations. 5:30-7 p.m., Hamburg Hall Auditorium 1000. For more information, see the news item below.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 30: Environmental Justice Lecture. 6-7:30 p.m., Newell-Simon Hall, Room 3305. Lecturer Majora Carter, founder of Sustainable South Bronx, will discuss how communities can "unlock their green-collar economic potential." The event is co-sponsored by the Heinz College's Institute for Social Innovation and the School of Computer Science's Project Olympus. Please RSVP by Sept. 28 at
  • Thursday, Oct. 1: Rail Connections Community Meeting. 3 p.m., Collaboration Innovation Center, Room 1201. Pittsburgh's Department of City Planning will hold a meeting regarding rail connections between Lawrenceville, Oakland and Hazelwood. The overview of the current rail feasibility study will be followed by a question and answer session. The meeting is open to commuters and residents. For more information, contact Jason Kambitsis at 412-255-2516 or
  • Saturday, Oct. 3: Carnegie Mellon Night at the Symphony. 8 p.m., Heinz Hall. Carnegie Mellon professors and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) musicians Andres Cardenes and Anne Martindale Williams will be featured soloists. Tickets, which include a post-concert reception, can be purchased at
  • Monday, Oct. 5: Staff Council Ice Cream Social. Noon-1 p.m., Connan Room, UC. Join staff council at its third annual social to meet your representatives and enjoy ice cream from Dave & Andy's. Dairy-free sorbet also will be provided. For more information on Staff Council programs and initiatives, visit
  • Monday, Oct. 5: John A. Pople Lectures in Theoretical and Computational Chemistry. 4:30 p.m., Mellon Institute Auditorium. Pople, the former J.C. Warner Professor of the Natural Sciences, was affiliated with the university and the Mellon Institute for more than 30 years. Pople's former student Mark Gordon, and Walter Kohn, a former Carnegie Mellon physics professor who shared the 1998 Nobel Prize with Pople, will speak. For more on the inaugural lectures, sponsored by the Department of Chemistry and the Mellon College of Science, visit
  • Wednesday Oct. 7: Laptop Registration. 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Wean Commons, University Center (UC). Students, staff and faculty should bring their laptops to be registered by the University Police Crime Prevention Unit.

Gregory Lehane To Direct Concert for G-20 Spouses

lehaneAt the request of the head of the White House Cultural Office, Drama and Music Professor Gregory Lehane will direct a concert for First Lady Michelle Obama and other spouses of G-20 world leaders at Pittsburgh's Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) High School downtown on Friday morning, Sept. 25. Lehane will be directing performers Yo Yo Ma, Trisha Yearwood, Sara Bareilles and several CAPA students.

Lehane has taught at Carnegie Mellon for two decades. Previously, he served as associate head and coordinator of the undergraduate and graduate directing programs in the School of Drama. Lehane is a founding member of Primary Stages Company in New York City, and has directed television programs for all three major networks, PBS, TBS, Lifetime, Nickelodeon, USA and The Disney Channel. He has been nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Direction twice. Regionally, Lehane has directed programs for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

Work To Begin on Walking to the Sky Monday

Work to install a new stainless steel pole design that minimizes movement and maximizes stability will start Monday on Jonathan Borofsky’s (A’64) Walking to the Sky sculpture in front of Warner Hall. The work will begin with excavation of the base. The current plan has the existing sculpture coming down beginning Wednesday and work continuing for approximately two weeks. Because nearly all of the work has to be done on site, much of The Cut will be out of commission during this time, as will two of the sidewalks between Forbes Avenue and the far end of the Purnell Center.

Bill Gates Inspired By "Great Minds" at Carnegie Mellon

gatesvideoBill Gates, co-chair and trustee of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and chairman of Microsoft Corp., presented the keynote address Tuesday at dedication ceremonies for the Gates Center for Computer Science and the Hillman Center for Future-Generation Technologies. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation gave a lead gift of $20 million toward the Gates Center.

"I'm always inspired when I come here. Inspired by the great minds that are here and the ones that will be coming here," Gates said. "I'll be following your work, and I can't wait to see the great advances that are delivered and the progress that will enable."

Gates, who noted Microsoft's strong ties with the university, specifically pointed out the pioneering work being done at Carnegie Mellon's Open Learning Initiative, and robotics and language technology programs. He emphasized the role that the university plays in solving real-world problems with solutions created by interdisciplinary teams.

Pittsburgh philanthropists Henry and Elsie Hillman also participated in the daylong celebration of the Gates and Hillman centers. The Henry L. Hillman Foundation gave a lead gift of $10 million for the Hillman Center for Future-Generation Technologies.

Following his talk, Gates participated in a virtual ribbon-cutting for the new centers alongside Henry Hillman, Board of Trustees Chairman Ray Lane, President Jared Cohon, Provost and Executive Vice President Mark Kamlet and a group of computer science students. Hillman and Gates cut the ribbon with a pair of scissors fittingly delivered to the stage by a robot.

Watch Gates' keynote and question and answer session on Carnegie Mellon's YouTube channel at

Computational Biology Becomes Department in School of Computer Science

The School of Computer Science (SCS) has added the Ray and Stephanie Lane Center for Computational Biology to its six existing academic units. The interdisciplinary research center, which will reside in the new Hillman Center for Future-Generation Technologies, was established two years ago with a $5 million grant from Board of Trustees Chairman Ray Lane and his wife, Stephanie. It will function as a department within SCS, making it the first computational biology department in the country to be part of a computer science school.

Among other accomplishments, Lane Center researchers have developed analytical techniques for determining the genes that contribute to complex disease syndromes such as diabetes, asthma and cancer; invented tools for showing how genetic networks evolve as organisms develop; detected mechanisms that allow genes to fill-in for similar genes that have been disabled; developed methods for checking the consistency of biochemical models; identified more than 100 genes that are inactivated in malignant cells and are potential targets for drug therapy; created complex simulations of molecular events within cells; and developed methods for accelerating the automated analysis of cell behaviors.

For more:

Department of Education Grant Renews Research Program

The U.S. Department of Education has renewed Carnegie Mellon's Program in Interdisciplinary Education Research (PIER) with a five-year, $4.5 million grant. PIER began five years ago with a multimillion dollar grant to train doctoral students from several disciplines, including psychology, computer science, philosophy and statistics, to conduct applied educational research.

"Since 2004, we've demonstrated that Carnegie Mellon is the ideal context for this kind of innovative, interdisciplinary program," said Psychology Professor David Klahr, PIER's director. "PIER training goes beyond the traditional experimental design and statistics taught within our departmental Ph.D. programs and emphasizes the use of cognitive modeling, process-tracing tools and advanced statistical techniques for complex data sets."

Read more about the program at

Center for Economic Development Presents "New Learning Opportunities"

The university community is invited to attend a special Center for Economic Development (CED) panel presentation featuring seven CED Fellows — senior leaders representing the region's top development organizations. The presentation, "The Center for Economic Development: New Learning Opportunities in Policy & Practice," will take place from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 30, in Hamburg Hall Auditorium 1000. The CED at the Heinz College is an applied research center that has served the institutions, communities and economy of the Pittsburgh region for more than 20 years.

Ramayya Krishnan, dean of the Heinz College, will deliver the keynote address. The panel, moderated by Lowell Taylor, professor of economics and public policy and academic director of the CED, includes Rob Stephany, executive director of the Urban Redevelopment Authority; Lisa Schroeder, executive director of Riverlife; Maureen Hogan, deputy director of the Pittsburgh Partnership for Neighborhood Development; Don Carter, the David Lewis Director of Urban Design and Regional Engagement of the Remaking Cities Institute at Carnegie Mellon's School of Architecture; Don Smith, president of the Regional Industrial Development Corporation; John Manzetti, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse; Dennis M. Davin, director of Allegheny County Department of Economic Development; and David Ruppersberger, president and CEO of The Technology Collaborative.

The event is open to all students, faculty and staff interested in economic development. Attendees are invited to stay for a reception immediately following the presentation. RSVP online at

School of Music To Launch Community Music School

The School of Music will launch the Community Music School, a public program offering online music courses and beginning piano instruction for adults, beginning in January. The first class, Repertoire & Listening, is an interactive online course of essential masterworks and critically chosen interpretations. Students from all walks of life are eligible to register. The fee for the 15-week course is $350.

Led by Paul Johnston, artist-lecturer in music history, the course is designed to build the students' intuitive understanding of historical styles and interpretive decisions. The first in the series of upcoming online courses, Repertoire & Listening gives the community access to a course previously available only to Carnegie Mellon students.

Read more about the new program at To register, contact Coordinator of Special Music Programs Daniel Barrett at 412-268-3667 or

News Briefs

  • Two ensembles from the School of Music are featured on Professor of Composition Leonardo Balada's latest opera recording, "La Muerte de Colón" (The Death of Columbus), released Sept. 1 on the Naxos Classical Music Label. Balada's 10th CD highlights the Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic and the Carnegie Mellon Repertory Chorus, led by Robert Page, the Paul Mellon University Professor of Music and director of choral and opera studies. For more:
  • This year's International Festival, "What's Happening to Diplomacy?," is slated for Oct. 8-10. The Office of International Education has launched a new awards program to recognize Carnegie Mellon projects and research that contribute to the festival's theme. Students, faculty and student organizations are encouraged to apply for these $500 grants to fund projects that continue to advance the festival's theme throughout the academic year. Applications must be received by 4 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 1. More information is available at
  • Payroll Services will have a representative located in Warner Hall at Cash Operations from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. today and tomorrow. Employees will be able to pick up payroll checks and complete I-9 forms at this temporary location. Payroll Services' normal hours and location in the UTDC Building will resume on Monday, Sept. 28.
  • At a pre-G-20 media event, Carnegie Mellon President Jared Cohon, University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark Nordenberg and UPMC President Jeffrey Romoff discussed Pittsburgh's transformation to a knowledge-based economy and the role higher education and medicine have played in the region's success. Howard Fineman from Newsweek moderated the panel on Monday at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial in Oakland. View the panel discussion at

Personal Mention

  • Karen R. Schnakenberg, teaching professor of rhetoric and professional writing in the English Department, is an invited speaker at the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Special Interest Group on Design of Communication (SIGDOC) Conference Oct. 5-7. Schnakenberg will discuss the challenge of preparing students to move successfully into the current workplace equipped with the necessary skills to understand and meet the challenges of emerging and evolving media and users.
  • Carnegie Mellon English Professor Hilary Masters will be reading from and signing copies of his two new books from 4:30 to 6 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 6 at the Carnegie Mellon Bookstore. He will be reading and signing a book of short stories titled "How the Indians Buried Their Dead," and a book of essays titled "In Rooms of Memory." Both books were released this month. 

For more events, visit

For daily news updates, visit

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The "8 1/2 x 11 News" is published weekly by the Internal Communications Team. To submit news of campus interest, email Abby Ross at

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