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8 1/2 x 11 Newsletter - May 22, 2008

May 22, 2008
Vol. 18, No. 42

In this issue:

Al Gore Urges Grads To Be Among Next American Heroes

In his commencement keynote address this past Sunday, former Vice President and 2007 Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore said Carnegie Mellon is "a campus that has provided great leadership for our nation and for our world in confronting what I regard as the most serious crisis our civilization has ever confronted." In his third visit to campus, Gore, who shares the Nobel Prize with Engineering and Public Policy Professor Ed Rubin, a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, encouraged the Class of 2008 to be among the third generation of American heroes in fighting the battle against global warming. "We have had two special generations of our history that appreciated the promise of the future so much that they overcame all fear to create a new era," Gore said, referring to the nation's founders who gained independence in 1776 and "the greatest generation," who won the struggle against global fascism in the 1940s.

... "You, I hope and expect, will be called upon to be part of the third hero generation in American history. Because this moment of your graduation, sees the United States of America poised to reclaim its rightful place as the leader of the world as our world confronts this unprecedented challenge. We face a planetary emergency. The concentrations of global warming pollution have been rising at an unprecedented pace and has now given the planet a fever.

... "We have now reached the stage where we can replace every electron, and every BTU from the fossil fuel sources without ever missing a beat. But, we need one ingredient that you represent. We need political will. We need your dedication. We need your hearts. ... We have everything we need to get started with the sole exception of political will. But as you know here in Pittsburgh and especially at Carnegie Mellon University, political will is a renewable resource."

To view Gore's remarks:

... And Randy Pausch Tells Them To Find, Follow Their Passion

In a surprise appearance at commencement, Computer Science Professor Randy Pausch, who is dying of pancreatic cancer, told the graduates to find and follow their passion. "I think the only advice I can give you on how to live your life well is first off remember ... it is not the things we do in life that we regret on our death bed. It is the things we do not. Find your passion and follow it," Pausch said, "and if there is anything I have learned in my life, you will not find that passion in things. And you will not find that passion in money. Because the more things and the more money you have, the more you will just look around and use that as the metric - and there will always be someone with more. Your passion must come from the things that fuel you from the inside. That passion will be grounded in people. It will be grounded in the relationships you have with people and what they think of you when your time comes.

... "I waited till 39 to get married because I had to wait that long to find someone whose happiness was more important than mine. And if nothing else I hope that all of you can find that kind of passion and that kind of love in your life."

For a video of Pausch's remarks, see:

Stever House Named In Honor of University's Fifth President

At commencement this past Sunday, President Jared L. Cohon announced that New House residence hall will be renamed Stever House in honor of H. Guyford Stever, the university's fifth president from 1965-1972. During Guyford Stever's tenure, Carnegie Tech merged with the Mellon Institute of Research to form Carnegie Mellon University, setting the stage for the school's unprecedented growth and achievement. Under President Stever, the Department of Computer Science was born, as was the School of Urban and Public Affairs (now the H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management) and existing schools were reorganized. Cohon presented the Board of Trustees resolution on the naming of Stever House to Stever's granddaughter, industrial design graduate Kasey Stever, to commemorate the occasion. Guyford Stever, who turned 90 this past October, was unable to attend the ceremony. A Zelkova tree was planted at Stever House earlier this year in honor of his birthday.

Carnegie Science Center Hosts RoboCup U.S. Open

The International RoboCup Federation's U.S. Open, May 24 - 27, is being hosted by the Carnegie Science Center. This year's competition will include teams from Carnegie Mellon, Harvard/MIT, Georgia Tech, Bowdoin College, the University of Texas at Austin, Brooklyn College, Brown University and the U. S. Naval Academy. Carnegie Mellon is fielding teams in the small-sized (CMDragons'08), AIBO (CMDash'08) and nano-sized leagues (Magic & Voodoo from the Mechanical Engineering Department). Teams will be setting up, conducting demonstrations and holding practice games from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday, May 24. Games and demonstrations will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday and Monday, May 25 - 26, and championship games will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday, May 27. The event was organized and is chaired by Carnegie Mellon Computer Science Professor Manuela Veloso, and Tucker Balch, associate professor of computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

News Briefs

  • Nominations are being accepted for the 2008 Andy Awards, the university-wide staff recognition program that honors individuals and/or teams for outstanding dedication and performance. Awards are given in five categories: dedication, innovation, commitment to students, citizenship and culture. Nomination deadline is July 2. Nomination forms are available at
  • The summer semester of Learning and Development seminars is here. Some of the most popular classes are back, as well as many new offerings. From project management and writing and presentation skills to book discussions and special programs, the summer is a great time to hone your skills through L&D programs. Classes are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. To register:
  • The official academic calendar has been amended and approved for the 2009-10 academic year. See:

Personal Mention

  • Wilfried Sieg, a professor in the Department of Philosophy, has been named the school's first Patrick Suppes Professor of Philosophy. One of the three faculty members who started the Philosophy Department in 1985, Sieg is an accomplished scholar whose work has explored disciplines ranging from proof theory and computer-assisted education to the history and philosophy of mathematics. Suppes, the professorship's funder, received an honorary doctorate in science and technology at Sunday's commencement ceremony. For more:
  • President Jared L. Cohon has named Michael Murphy vice president for campus affairs, effective July 1. Murphy, an associate vice president at the university since 2005 and a member of the Carnegie Mellon community for 26 years, succeeds Vice President for Enrollment William Elliott, who will retire from his full-time duties on June 30. Murphy will assume Elliott's broad portfolio of responsibilities, which include overseeing the departments of Student Affairs, Athletics, Campus Services, Enrollment Services, Enrollment Systems, Facilities Management Services, Housing & Dining, Institutional Research & Analysis, the University Center and University Police. As part of the transition, Undergraduate Admission, which had reported to Elliott, will now report to Provost and Senior Vice President Mark Kamlet.
  • Pioneering research in green chemistry has earned Terry Collins, the Thomas Lord Professor of Chemistry at Carnegie Mellon, the first $50,000 Charles E. Kaufman Award "for substantial contributions to science for both the betterment and understanding of human life." The award program was established through a special fund created by Kaufman at The Pittsburgh Foundation, to foster and encourage fundamental research in chemistry, biology and physics. Collins has donated his award to the university to support his team's continued work.
  • Brian Harvey, a mechanical and biomedical engineering student, has qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Division III Track and Field Championships for the second year in a row. He will enter the trials for the 1500-meter race on Thursday, May 22, with the finals set for Saturday, May 24 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Calendar Highlights