Carnegie Mellon University
Skip navigation and jump directly to page content

8 1/2 x 11 Newsletter - May 5, 2011

May 5, 2011
Vol. 21, No. 42

In this issue:

Calendar Highlights

Picks of the Week:

  • Saturday, May 7: Doble Tango. Latin jazz guitar and piano duo of Argentine musicians JE Cucchiarelli and Fede Díaz will perform. Cucchiarelli and Díaz are guests of James Ferla, artist lecturer in guitar. 8 p.m., Kresge Theatre, College of Fine Arts. Free. For more information about Doble Tango, visit
  • Monday, May 9: Book signing. Professor of Art History Edith Balas will sign copies of her memoir "Bird in Flight: Memoir of a Survivor and Scholar." Noon - 1:30 p.m., CMU Bookstore. In this new book published by Carnegie Mellon University Press, Balas tells her story of facing grim situations and becoming what she describes as a "professional survivor." She endured many hardships throughout her life, including being sent to the Nazi death camp Auschwitz, having her husband disappear after falling from favor with the communists and beating breast cancer five times. For more on the book, go to
  • Sunday, May 15: Commencement Ceremony. Guests are asked to be seated in Gesling Stadium by 10 a.m. Procession of graduates will begin at 10:15 a.m. The ceremony will start at 11 a.m. and is scheduled to run through 12:30 p.m. Read about the keynote speaker and honorary degree recipients later in this newsletter.
Featured Events:

  • Sunday May 8: Parking and traffic will be restricted on several streets on and around campus due to the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Schenley Park.
  • Tuesday, May 10: Free Skin Cancer Screenings. 8:30 - 11 a.m., University Health Services. To schedule an appointment call 412-268-2157 and select option 2. More:
  • Friday-Saturday, May 13-14: Carnegie Mellon Bookstore Sidewalk Sale. Come early to get the best selection.
  • Tuesday, May 17: CMU Staff and Community Blood Drive. 8 a.m. - 2:45 p.m., Connan Room, UC. To schedule an appointment logon to and enter sponsor code CU040004, or contact John Papinchak at or 412-268-7404. All donors will be entered into a random raffle for Pirates tickets.
  • Wednesday, May 18: Annual Staff Picnic hosted by President Jared L. Cohon and Provost and Executive Vice President Mark Kamlet in recognition of staff contributions to the university. 11:30 a.m. - 2 p.m., Wiegand Gym and Rangos Hall, UC. The event is free. Picnic-goers must present a valid Carnegie Mellon staff ID. Transportation will be provided for off-campus staff. Details and schedules will be sent via email.

(If you have an event you'd like to publicize on the university's online public event calendar, complete the event form at Your information will be sent to the Internal Communications team for posting on the calendar.)

48 Students Graduate From CMU's Qatar Campus

Qatar GraduationForty-eight Carnegie Mellon students at the Qatar campus — 36 business administration majors, nine information systems majors and three computer science majors — celebrated their graduation this past Monday (May 2) at Education City.

Student speaker Nofe Al-Suwaidi, a business administration major, reflected on her childhood and the misconceptions of what it means to be a Qatari woman. She discussed a woman's role in contemporary society and the opportunities that await her.

"In my lifetime, Qatar and the women who guide her have undergone long-awaited changes. Women have emerged as leaders and role models," she said.

President Jared L. Cohon congratulated the Class of 2011 and acknowledged the significance of graduation day.

"Today, you join more than 80,000 Carnegie Mellon alumni. It is a distinguished group that includes Nobel Laureates, business leaders and award-winning actors, all people who discovered their passion and honed their skills at Carnegie Mellon, just the way you have. No group of graduates is more important than you. Never have the hopes of a nation and a region rested so heavily on a group of young people. Never has there been so much opportunity for change and progress," Cohon said.

Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, chairperson of the Qatar Museums Authority Board of Trustees, delivered the keynote address. She encouraged the graduates to be passionate about their decisions in life to achieve success. She recounted the success of Qatar as a progressive nation under the country's visionary leadership as an example of dedication, drive and passion. "Who would have thought Qatar would ever host the World Cup? It all began with a dream of my father's in the 1970s," she said. "All dreams are realizable - the question is how committed are you to that dream."

Read more:

In the photo above, student speaker Nofe Al-Suwaidi presents the 2011 Class tile to G. Richard Tucker, interim dean of the Qatar Campus.

Nearly 4,000 Degrees To Be Conferred at Commencement, Sunday, May 15

Aron RalstonNearly 4,000 degrees — 1,487 bachelor's, 2,209 master's, and 297 doctor's degrees — will be conferred at Carnegie Mellon's 114th Commencement, beginning at 11 a.m., Sunday, May 15 in Gesling Stadium. This year's keynote speaker is Aron Ralston (E'97), whose incredible and heroic story of survival was the subject of the six-time Oscar-nominated film "127 Hours."
Joining Ralston on stage will be eight honorary degree recipients, including distinguished alumni and business and education leaders. The group highlights the extraordinary accomplishments and impact of CMU as well as the university's global research and education partnerships. The honorary degree recipients are:

  • Craig R. Barrett, retired CEO and chairman of the board of the Intel Corporation, will receive an honorary Doctor of Science and Technology degree.
  • Legendary Hollywood producer Steven Bochco (A'66) will receive an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree.
  • Chip Ganassi, owner of Chip Ganassi Racing Teams Inc. and one of the most successful and innovative owners in auto racing, will receive an honorary Doctor of Science and Technology degree.
  • Richard (Rick) Rashid, senior vice president for Microsoft Research and former computer science professor at CMU, will receive an honorary Doctor of Science and Technology degree.
  • Dr. David Servan-Schreiber (CS'89,'90), clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.
  • Rafael Rangel Sostmann, president of the Tecnológico de Monterrey System since 1985, will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.
  • Distinguished real estate developer David S. Steiner (E'51), chairman of Steiner Equities Group, LLC, will receive an honorary Doctor of Business Practice degree.
  • Oliver Williamson (TPR'63), the Edgar F. Kaiser Professor Emeritus of Business, Economics and Law at the University of California, Berkeley, and the 2009 Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences, will receive an honorary Doctor of Economics and Organization degree.

Read more:

Pictured above is Aron Ralston.

Seven Alumni Nominated for Tony Awards

Seven alumni have been nominated for Tony Awards, Broadway's highest honor.  They are:

  • Josh Gad (A'03) for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical for his performance in "The Book of Mormon";
  • Patina Miller (A'06) for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical for her performance in "Sister Act";
  • Rory O'Malley (A'03) for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical for his performance in "The Book of Mormon";
  • Judith Light (A'70) for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play for her performance in "Lombardi";
  • Mark Wendland (A'84) for Best Scenic Design of a Play for his work in "The  Merchant of Venice";
  • Ann Roth (A'53; H'00) for Best Costume Design of a Musical for her work in "The Book of Mormon";
  • Peter Hylenski (A'97) for Best Sound Design of a Musical for his work in  "The Scottsboro Boys."

The Tony Awards will air at 8 p.m., June 12 on CBS.

Study Says Pennsylvania's Losing Millions by Not Taxing Online-Only Retailers

A new economic study released Tuesday (May 3) and compiled by Carnegie Mellon Professor Robert Strauss shows that Pennsylvania could be collecting between $246-$398 million in additional revenue per year by requiring online-only retailers without a physical presence in Pennsylvania, such as, to collect and remit sales taxes for Internet transactions.

"Pennsylvania is missing out on several hundreds of millions of dollars each year," said Strauss, professor of economics and public policy at Heinz College. "If all Internet retailers were required to collect and remit sales taxes, it would increase tax receipts to Pennsylvania and increase sales at in-state stores."

While collecting sales tax from online-only retailers would provide Pennsylvania's budget with a needed influx of revenue, the study reveals that the state's small businesses and job market also would benefit. It notes that if the state's brick-and-mortar stores had a level playing field with their online competition, Pennsylvania businesses could add between 1,530 to 2,766 new jobs.
To access the economic study go to

Classroom Salon Uses Social Networking To Tap Collective Intelligence of Study Groups

Classroom SalonTaking their cue from social media, educators at Carnegie Mellon have developed a social networking application called Classroom Salon that engages students in online learning communities that effectively tap the collective intelligence of groups.

Thousands of high school and university students used Classroom Salon (CLS),, this past academic year to share their ideas about texts, news articles and other reading materials. With support of the Next Generation Learning Challenges initiative, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, CLS will be used in an innovative experiment at the University of Baltimore to see if it can help students who are in danger of failing introductory courses or otherwise dropping out of college.

"Sites such as Facebook and Twitter have captured the attention of young people in a way that blogs and online discussion forums have not," said Ananda Gunawardena, associate teaching professor in the Computer Science Department, who developed CLS with David S. Kaufer, professor of English. "With Classroom Salon, we've tried to capture the sense of connectedness that makes social media sites so appealing, but within a framework that allows groups to explore texts deeply. So it's not just social networking for the sake of socializing but enhancing the student experience as readers and writers."

Read more and watch a video demonstration at

CMU Revamps Introductory Computer Science Courses

The School of Computer Science is implementing a major revision of its introductory computer science curriculum. The new courses reflect a more rigorous approach to developing reliable software and a greater emphasis on parallel computation — routinely breaking problems into parts that can be solved simultaneously by multiple processors to increase speed.
The changes also incorporate concepts of computational thinking - the idea that computer scientists have developed unique ways of formulating and solving problems.
"Computation's central and growing role in science, the arts and commerce — virtually every aspect of modern life — requires that the next generation of computer scientists be better prepared than ever," said SCS Dean Randal E. Bryant.
Three of the new courses were introduced at the freshman level this academic year, with a sophomore-level course slated to begin in the fall. One notable change was to supplant the use of the popular Java programming language in first-level programming courses.
"We certainly haven't stopped teaching or using Java, which was developed by one of our alumni, James Gosling, and is widely used by software developers," Bryant said. "But we believe other programming languages do a better job of helping beginning students understand the principles underlying this science."

Read more about the changes:

News Briefs

  • Carnegie Mellon's 2010 United Way Campaign for the 2011 giving year has been a huge success with about 300 pledges from faculty and staff totaling more than $220,000. Nearly 60 individuals gave at the $1,000 and above Leadership Level. CMU's United Way Campaign Committee thanks all who contributed and who shared their stories of involvement with United Way agencies. If you would like to share your story, or to provide feedback on this year's campaign, contact Megan Worbs at
  • A radio broadcast of The Carnegie Mellon Baroque Ensemble's April concert will be featured on WQED 89.3 at 7 p.m., Friday, May 6 as part of the Performance in Pittsburgh program with Stephen Baum. The Carnegie Mellon Baroque Ensemble is led by Stephen Schultz, associate teaching professor of flute.
  • Registration is now open for Learning & Development's summer session. Sessions include: Professional Writing Skills; Four Generations in the Workplace; Communicating via the Web; Fostering a Culture of Engagement; Disability Etiquette: Everything You Wanted to Know but Were Afraid to Ask; and Retweets, Hashtags and Mentions: Using Twitter to Communicate. Register online at
  • Beginning Monday, May 16, CMU Postal Services will permanently change their retail window hours to 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Mondays through Fridays. The student package pickup window hours will remain unchanged from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Mondays through Fridays, and Saturdays from 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. when regular semester classes are in session. When regular semester classes are not in session, the student package pickup window is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays through Fridays, and is closed on Saturdays.
  • The new Taleo job posting and applicant tracking system will go live on May 10. Taleo, which replaces the current system, Kenexa, will add enhanced functionality to the Talent Management System, making the hiring process quicker and easier. See for more information about the system, implementation timeline, and what hiring managers may need to do in anticipation of the transition. Contact your HR Manager with questions about the transition to the new system.
  • Elections for at-large Staff Council representatives will take place through May 6. Cast ballots and read candidate bios online at Email with questions.
  • Staff Council has arranged for members of the CMU community to purchase discounted tickets for Cirque du Soleil's latest touring production, TOTEM, coming to Pittsburgh in May.  Students, faculty and staff can receive 15 percent off select performances. Starting Thursday, May 12, TOTEM will perform for a limited engagement under the trademark blue-and-yellow Grand Chapiteau (Big Top) in the Strip District (20th Street & A.V.R.R.). For more information and to order tickets, go to

Personal Mention

  • Mary Shaw and David Garlan, faculty members who led Carnegie Mellon to prominence in the field of software architecture, have been named co-recipients of the Outstanding Research Award for 2011 presented by the Association for Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on Software Engineering (SIGSOFT). Shaw, the Alan J. Perlis Professor of Computer Science, and Garlan, professor of computer science and director of software engineering professional programs, were recognized by SIGSOFT for their "significant and lasting software engineering research contributions through the development and promotion of software architecture." More:
  • Natalie Ozeas, professor of music education and director of graduate studies in the School of Music, was recently inducted into the Pennsylvania Music Educators Hall of Fame, the highest honor given by the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA). For a video of the presentation, go to
  • Brad A. Myers, professor in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute, was one of 10 recipients chosen by Microsoft Research for its 2011 Software Engineering Innovation Foundation (SEIF) Awards. Myers' project, "Better Tools for Authoring Interactive Behaviors," is intended to make programming more understandable to a wider range of people by using HCI methods to improve the programming environment and programming language. More:
  • William F. Hughes, professor of mechanical engineering emeritus, died April 23 in Raleigh, N.C. He was 80. Hughes earned a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at CMU and studied at Cambridge University in England before becoming a professor at the university. An expert in magnetohydrodynamics and fluid dynamics, Hughes authored six books, which are still being used as textbooks at universities around the world. He was a consultant for the Rand Corporation, Westinghouse and NASA. Hughes received the George Tallman Ladd Professorship in 1989 and retired in 1993. More:
  • Jacquie Hullah, former head women's basketball coach at Dartmouth College and Arizona State University, has been named head women's basketball coach at CMU. Hullah, who led Dartmouth to five Ivy League titles during her tenure there (1984-1993), succeeds Gerri Seidl, who resigned in March after 27 years at the helm. Hullah, a member of Dartmouth's Coaching Hall of Fame, also coached the Seattle Reign of the American Basketball League for two years. More:
  • John Cooper, a December 2010 graduate of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, is one of 10 U.S. recipients of the 2011 German Chancellor Fellowship, presented by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to give young leaders the opportunity to spend an extended period of time in Germany at an early stage in their careers. Cooper, the second person from CMU to ever win the award, plans to study the nuclear energy debate in Germany and the history of the country's Green Party. The program includes an intensive language course, a four-week introductory seminar in Bonn and Berlin, a study trip around Germany and a final meeting in Berlin. Read more:
  • Christopher Dimond (MFA'07) won the recent Steeltown Factory Film Competition and will receive $30,000 to produce his short film titled "Flour Baby." His film focuses on the high school project of caring for a baby doll that simulates a real-life infant. Prior to attending CMU's School of Drama, Dimond was a teacher at Pittsburgh Central Catholic High School and has since performed in plays and musicals in Los Angeles, London and Sydney. More:


For daily news updates, visit

Connect with Internal Communications on Twitter at or Facebook at