Carnegie Mellon University

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CMU Community News

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November 20, 2014

News Briefs

Gift Renames Music's Recording Studio

The recording studio in the School of Music has been renamed The Vlahakis Recording Studio in honor of a generous gift from CMU alumnus Nick Vlahakis and his wife, Kimi.

The couple's two-part gift includes a substantial annual gift to support regular studio operations and a planned gift of $1 million. The planned gift will be used to help ensure the studio's effective operation in perpetuity, and to support undergraduate merit scholarships and operations in the School of Music.

"We are deeply humbled by the generosity shown by Nick and Kimi toward our school," said Denis Colwell, head of the School of Music. "Their remarkable kindness helps to ensure that the Vlahakis Recording Studio will remain state-of-the-art into the foreseeable future, and CMU students will reap the benefit of working in it for years to come. The gift also enables us to attract top musical and scholastic talent to the School of Music."

Learn more.

$80M Endowment To Support Presidential Fellowships and Scholarships

President Subra Suresh has announced that approximately $80 million has been generated for a permanent endowment to support the Presidential Fellowships and Scholarships program since it was created six months ago.

Establishing new funding for graduate and undergraduate students in every college and school at CMU has been a key priority of President Suresh.

"I am most grateful to our faculty and staff colleagues, alumni, academic and administrative leaders, trustees and nonprofit foundations for their passionate commitment to this project; for their generosity; and for the collegial and thoughtful manner in which they have helped galvanize our community to demonstrate rapid success in the early stages of this very important effort," President Suresh said in an email to the university community. 

He added that growing the endowment for student support will remain a key priority project for himself and the university.

The first cohort of Presidential Fellowship recipients will be selected in spring 2015 through a process overseen by the Office of the Provost that will invite nominations from the department heads and deans of the schools and colleges. The Office of Undergraduate Admission, with input from the provost and the deans, will help select the Presidential Scholarship recipients.

Read more.

CMU Students To Compete in Venture Competition For $60K in Investments

Each year the Carnegie Mellon Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship unites the university’s community of student entrepreneurs for the McGinnis Venture Competition, funded by an endowment from Gerald E. McGinnis.

The McGinnis Venture Competition involves three rounds that give students the opportunity to develop and pitch their ideas to professional entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. All competitors receive crucial interaction with alumni entrepreneurs and an opportunity to raise capital and get valuable feedback on their ventures.

Teams from all rounds enjoy access to exclusive networking events. Registration will open on Dec. 1. The competition is open to all Carnegie Mellon undergraduate, master’s degree and Ph.D. students.

Shop Oakland ImageShop Small To Win Big

On Saturday, Nov. 29, shop at any of Oakland's participating retailers for your chance to win an Apple Store Gift Card. Just Tweet or post to Facebook a photo of yourself in any of the participating shops listed here:
Tweet your photo to: @only_in_oakland and Facebook to: only in oakland.  Winners will be selected Dec. 1.

Lily & Strum Takes Guesswork Out of Gifting

Just in time for the holidays, Pittsburgh startup Lily & Strum, created by CMU alumnus and CEO Stephan Mueller, rolled out a free subscription model of its dynamic web- and mobile-based platform that takes the guesswork out of gifting. The algorithmic platform offers unique, personalized gift recommendations, gifting reminders and more.

The concept is simple: sign up, create a profile, answer a series of questions about your loved ones and instantly receive distinctive gift recommendations. Start here.

West Side of East Campus Garage To Re-Open; Turnaround To Be Eliminated

The west entrance/exit of the East Campus Garage is expected to re-open (one entry and one exit lane) and the Cohon University Center (CUC) loading dock will be moved to a temporary location after Thanksgiving, as the construction work zone will directly shift to the Forbes Avenue side of the CUC. Lease holders will be required to exit the garage from the Beeler Street exit from 4 to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

This work area shift will cause the CUC turnaround to be eliminated. Individual cars picking up or dropping off people or goods may use the new short-term parking area located just inside the west entrance of the East Campus Garage. Alternative pick-up and drop-off areas have been identified for caravans of cars transporting groups, hotel and non-CMU shuttle vans and charter buses. See for staging information.

Read about the CUC Addition project.

Faculty and Staff Sale, Dec. 3

The University Store is having a Faculty and Staff Sale from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 3. Employees can save 20 percent off on all merchandise. "Like" the store on Facebook and receive an additional 10 percent off one item. Exclusive sales will be posted on the store's Facebook page at noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Attention Ph.D.s: Seeking Participants for Three Minute Thesis Competition

Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) challenges Ph.D. students to present a compelling oration on their thesis and its significance in just 3 minutes, in language appropriate for a general audience. 3MT is not an exercise in trivializing or "dumbing-down" research but forces students to consolidate their ideas and crystallize their research discoveries.

Any currently enrolled CMU Ph.D. candidate may sign up to compete. Register online. Registration deadline is Jan. 18.

Qualifying rounds will be held January through March and the championship round will be held in April. Heat winners will receive iPads or the equivalent value as a research/travel grant. Championship winners will receive $3,000, $2,000 and $1,000 research/travel grants.

Learn more about Three Minute Thesis.

The Numbers Are In: IR&A Publishes Fall Enrollments

Institutional Research and Analysis has published CMU’s official fall 2014 enrollments online. High-level enrollments (college, gender, race, citizenship and location) are available in individual pages at
Detailed enrollment cross-tabulations are available in an early posting of the 2015 Factbook at

Win Holiday Gifts; Help Heinz Interns

As the winter holidays approach, the Heinz College’s Internship Opportunity Fund (IOF) is giving you a chance to win amazing gifts for the price of a raffle ticket.

The IOF Holiday Rafflepalooza will take place Dec. 1-3 in the Hamburg Hall foyer. The IOF will be raffling off gifts like wine tastings, theatre and symphony tickets, restaurant gift certificates, hotel stays, golf outings and more!

Stop by the Hamburg foyer during these dates and times to enter.

  • Dec. 1, 12 - 1:30 p.m.;
  • Dec. 2, 8 - 9 a.m., 12 - 1:30 p.m. and 4 - 6 p.m.; and
  • Dec. 3, 8 - 9 a.m. and 12 - 1 p.m.

All proceeds from the raffle will support the IOF, a fund to help Heinz College students pursue career-starting summer internships that are low-paid or unpaid. Last year, the IOF helped 33 students with internships at NBC, the Guggenheim, the United Nations Development Programme, Comedy Central, the U.S. Department of Education and many other institutions.

Shop Today To Support the Children's School

Shop at Ten Thousand Villages in Squirrel Hill today (Thursday, Nov. 20) and a percentage of your purchase will be donated to the CMU Children's School Library Acquisition Fund.

The Children's School is an accredited early childhood laboratory school that offers morning and afternoon pre-school and full-day kindergarten programs for children between the ages of 3 and 6.

Ten Thousand Villages is at 5824 Forbes Ave. Thursday hours are 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.

CMU Offers Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers hosts onsite meetings at Carnegie Mellon every Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. in Cyert Hall B6-A. 
If you can’t make the at-work meetings, or prefer your community meeting, you can purchase your membership through Weight Watchers on a special website just for Carnegie Mellon staff, faculty, students AND their family members for only $39.95 a month (regular price is $42.95). The website is, the CMU ID is 21025 and the pass code is WW21025.
Membership includes all Weight Watchers materials, weekly meetings and e-Tools (WW online tools). Contact Rita Motor at 412-268-8071 or with any questions.

Toys for Tots Campaign Has Begun

The College of Engineering’s First-Year Advisory Board and the Carnegie Mellon Police Department are celebrating the 10th Anniversary of their Toys for Tots Campaign. The program is modeled after the national U.S. Marine Corps program that has been collecting toys for needy children since the early 1950s. This year’s campaign will run through Dec. 9. Donated toys must be new and unwrapped.

Here are the drop-off locations:

  • Carnegie Mellon University Police, 300 South Craig Street, Main lobby;
  • Software Engineering Institute, Main Lobby;
  • Mellon Institute, 3rd floor Security Desk;
  • UTDC, Main Lobby;
  • Morewood Gardens, Student Life Office;
  • Warner Hall, Enrollment Services;
  • Cohon University Center, Student Activities Office;
  • College of Fine Arts, Room 104;
  • Pittsburgh Technology Center, Technology Drive, Main Lobby;
  • NREC, 40th Street, Main Lobby;
  • Hunt Library, 1st Floor Lobby;
  • Tepper School of Business, 1st Floor Main Lobby; and
  • Scaife Hall, Room 110.

If anyone has toys that need to be picked up, has questions or would like to participate further, contact CMU Police Officer Donald Campbell at

Discounts Offered on Holiday Cards

Minted, the online stationery company, is offering CMU faculty and staff 10 percent off, plus free shipping, on all Christmas and holiday card orders.  

Just enter the MINTEDFF2 coupon code at checkout. This discount code only applies to Christmas and holiday cards at this time.

"Be the Answer"; Give to the United Way

Carnegie Mellon’s 2014 United Way Campaign runs through Thursday, Dec. 11. This year’s theme is "Be the answer."

Employees are encouraged to live this year’s campaign theme by advocating for, or volunteering with, the United Way and by pledging or donating during the campaign. Please visit to make your pledge online and learn more about featured agencies that benefit from the United Way, including CMU's current featured agency, Oakland Planning and Development Corporation (United Way agency code #300). "Be the answer" to someone in need in Allegheny County. Pledge today!