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News Briefs

For immediate use 

Feb. 7, 2006 -- No. 56

Photo: See end of briefs for information


Free African-American History tour
set for Friday (Feb. 10) at Wilson Library

Photographs documenting historic North Carolina events, including the integration of UNC, will be part of a free "African-American History" tour on Friday (Feb. 10) at the university’s Wilson Library.

The 90-minute guided tour, offered during Black History Month, will begin in the library’s lobby at 3 p.m. Historic documents and photos showcased will include the manuscripts of George Moses Horton, a former slave from Chatham County who became the first black man to publish a book in the South.

An autographed first edition of Richard Wright’s novel "Native Son," which details an interracial murder case, and a first edition of "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" also will be featured.

This month marks the last chance to see the exhibition "Slavery and the Making of the University: Celebrating our Unsung Heroes, Bond and Free," on display through Feb. 28 on the fourth floor of Wilson. Call the manuscripts department at (919) 962-1345 or visit for more information.


Southern studies expert Bill Ferris
to receive literary excellence award

Dr. William Ferris, senior associate director of the Center for the Study of the American South at UNC, will receive a Richard Wright Literary Excellence Award at a Mississippi celebration on Feb. 25.

The Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration established the award in 1994 to honor Richard Wright, who wrote "Native Son" (1940) and "Black Boy" (1945) and was born near Natchez. Ferris and Dr. Noel Polk of Mississippi State University will receive the award this year. Winners must be outstanding writers with a strong Mississippi connection. Past winners include Eudora Welty, Shelby Foote, Elizabeth Spencer, Beth Henley, John Grisham and William Raspberry.

The annual celebration features lectures by nationally known scholars and writers, with related cultural events and the presentation of the Wright Award.

Ferris, also the Joel R. Williamson Eminent Professor of History at UNC, is a leading voice on Southern studies, music and folklore. He joined UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences faculty in 2002.

A native of Vicksburg, Miss., and award-winning scholar, Ferris chaired the National Endowment for the Humanities from 1997 to 2001. Before that, he was founding director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi, where he was a faculty member for 18 years.

Ferris has written or edited 10 books and created 15 documentary films, most of which deal with black music and other folklore from the Mississippi Delta. He co-edited the massive "Encyclopedia of Southern Culture" (1989), which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

His films include "Mississippi Blues" (1983), which was featured at the Cannes Film Festival. His many honors include the Charles Frankel Prize in the Humanities from former President Bill Clinton, the American Library Association’s Dartmouth Medal and the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award.


Theater technology organization
re-elects Owen as a vice president

Bobbi Owen, a professor of dramatic art at UNC, was re-elected vice president for communications for the United States Institute for Theatre Technology. Owen also is senior associate dean for undergraduate education in the College of Arts and Sciences.

The institute groups design, production and technology professionals in the performing arts and entertainment industry. Its annual Conference & Stage Expo attracts more than 4,000 people from around the world.

As vice president of communications, Owen is responsible for the institute’s publications and advertising, including a monthly newsletter and a quarterly journal. She chairs the publications committee and serves on the executive committee.

Owen’s new term begins in July. She was first elected as institute vice president in July 2004 for a two-year term. Previously, in February 2002, the institute’s board of directors appointed her as interim vice president.

Owen’s graduate training was as a theatrical designer. Her research interests are theatrical designers and the history of clothing forms, both Western and non-Western. Her five books include "The Designs of Willa Kim" (2005). She began teaching at Carolina in 1974 and became senior associate dean for undergraduate education in 2004.


Guskiewicz, Padua win research awards
from National Athletic Trainers Association

Drs. Kevin Guskiewicz and Darin Padua at UNC have won research awards from the National Athletic Trainers Association Research and Education Foundation.

The foundation’s mission is to support and advance the athletic training profession through research and education.

Guskiewicz, professor and chair of the department of exercise and sport science in the College of Arts and Sciences, also directs the Sports Medicine Research Laboratory. Padua is assistant professor of exercise and sport science and assistant director of the laboratory.

Guskiewicz won the foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Athletic Training Research. The award recognizes an established researcher who has made significant contributions to research in athletic training and the health care of physically active people.

Padua was selected for the New Investigator Award, which recognizes a young researcher who has made, and likely will continue to make, significant research contributions to the field.

Over the past 12 years, Guskiewicz has focused his research on sports-related concussions. Specifically, he has investigated the effect of concussion impacts on postural stability and neuropsychological function, featured recently on ABC’s "World News Tonight" and "Good Morning America."

Padua’s primary research interests focus on risk factor identification and prevention of anterior cruciate ligament and shoulder injuries. The ligament is one of the primary stabilizing structures of the knee joint; injury can cause long-term disability.

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Caption: (From Left) Leroy Frasier, John Lewis Brandon and Ralph Frasier, the first black undergraduates admitted to the UNC. This and other photos will be part of an "African-American History" tour Friday (Feb. 10) in UNC’s Wilson Library. (Photograph by Roland Giduz. North Carolina Collection, UNC-Chapel Hill.)

University Library contact: Judith Panitch, (919) 962-1301,

College of Arts and Sciences contact: Kim Weaver Spurr, (919) 962-4093,

News Services contacts: Print, L.J. Toler, (919) 962-8589; broadcast, Karen Moon, (919) 962-8595