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News Briefs

For immediate use

May 23, 2006 -- No. 280


Gura named scholar-in-residence
at American Antiquarian Society

UNC Professor Dr. Philip F. Gura has been named the 2006-2007 Mellon Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence at the American Antiquarian Society, one of the nation's largest libraries for the study of early American culture.

The independent research library, founded in 1812 in Worcester, Mass., holds collections that document the lives of Americans from the colonial era through the Civil War and Reconstruction.

Gura is the William S. Newman Distinguished Professor of American literature and culture in UNC's College of Arts and Sciences.

As a scholar-in-residence, Gura will work on his current book, "The Club of the Like-Minded: Occasions and Principals in American Transcendentalism." The book is to be published by Hill & Wang, which published Gura's previous book "Jonathan Edwards: America's Evangelical" in March 2005.

Gura also wrote "C.F. Martin and His Guitars, 1796-1873," a book chronicling the life of Christian Frederick Martin, the famous maker of American guitars. Gura discovered the company's business journals and letters in wooden crates in Nazareth, Pa., and wrote the book, published by UNC Press.

The residency is made possible by an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant, which allows a senior scholar to research and write a major project and mentor young scholars-in-residence.

Gura's research interests include early American literature, American renaissance, the history of the book in America, 19th century popular culture and the history of American music.


Durban's essay selected
for Pushcart Prize anthology

An essay by Pam Durban, UNC's Doris Betts Distinguished Professor of creative writing, has been selected for the 2006 edition of the "Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses" anthology.

Durban's essay "Clocks" will be included in the anthology, to be published in November. In "Clocks," Durban describes her father's sense of time throughout his life. The essay is part one in her series on the deaths of parents. It was first published in Washington and Lee University's literary magazine, Shenandoah.

The Pushcart Prize series, published each year since 1976, has been named among the most influential projects in the history of American publishing by Publishers Weekly. According to Library Journal, "These authors are not only our finest storytellers, poets and essayists, they are also the guardians of our language."

Durban came to Carolina in 2001 from Georgia State University, where she directed the creative writing program. She has written two novels and a collection of short fiction. Her stories have been published in anthologies including "The Best American Short Stories of the Century," edited by John Updike.

In 2001, her novel "So Far Back" won the Lillian Smith Award for Fiction, which recognizes outstanding writing about the American South.

Durban also was the founder and co-editor of Five Points, a literary magazine that received the Best New Journal Award in 1998 from the National Council of Literary Magazines.

UNC's creative writing program, in the College of Arts and Sciences, was established in 1967.


Singer to receive 13th annual
national water research prize

Dr. Philip C. Singer, a professor in UNC's School of Public Health, will receive the National Water Research Institute's 13th Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke Prize for excellence in water research.

Singer, the Daniel A. Okun Distinguished Professor of environmental engineering, will be honored at a July 13 ceremony and lecture in San Juan Capistrano, Calif.

Established in 1993, the award recognizes research scientists who have demonstrated excellence in water-science research and technology. A gold medallion and $50,000 is presented annually to a research scientist active in the water and wastewater fields.

The International Congress of Distinguished Awards has identified the Clarke Prize as one of the most prestigious awards in the world.

During his 37-year career, Singer has worked to increase knowledge of water chemistry and drinking water treatment. His research ranges from providing a fundamental understanding of ozone chemistry to understanding the formation and control of disinfection byproducts in drinking water.

Singer has taught aquatic chemistry and physical-chemical treatment processes at UNC since 1973. He directs and was responsible for forming UNC's Drinking Water Research Center in 1998 to address critical issues concerning drinking water.

He earned his doctorate in environmental sciences and engineering from Harvard University, his master's in sanitary engineering from Northwestern University and his bachelor's in civil engineering from Cooper Union in New York City.

The National Water Research Institute, founded in 1991, promotes protection, maintenance and restoration of water supplies and freshwater and marine environments through cooperative research.


Petersen receives first faculty award
for excellence in doctoral mentoring

UNC mathematics professor Dr. Karl Petersen has received the Graduate School's first Faculty Award for Excellence in Doctoral Mentoring.

The award, presented at the Doctoral Hooding Ceremony on May 13, was established to honor faculty members whose dedication to graduate students and commitment to excellence in graduate education have made a significant contribution to UNC.

"Faculty mentors give so much of their time, talent and knowledge to shepherd doctoral students through what is often the most challenging time of their academic careers," said Dr. Linda Dykstra, dean of the Graduate School. "It was important that this extraordinary commitment to Carolina's graduate students be recognized."

As an academic adviser, Petersen has helped at least a dozen graduate students complete their doctorates in math. He also directs the mathematics department's undergraduate studies. He earned his bachelor's degree from Princeton University in 1965, his master's in 1967 and doctorate in 1969 from Yale University.

Students who nominated Petersen wrote that he is a committed adviser who makes time for students and encourages them to develop public speaking skills and present their research at professional meetings.

Graduate students receiving their doctoral degrees during the 2005-2006 year were invited to nominate faculty for the award. A selection committee of doctoral students and faculty members selected the recipient.

Selection criteria included a faculty mentor's efforts to encourage students to engage in scholarly activity, to obtain fellowships and prepare conference presentations, to provide a supportive environment for students, and to achieve a successful record of graduate degree completion among advisees.

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Photo URLs: Singer:

College of Arts and Sciences contact: Kim Spurr, (919) 962-4093,
School of Public Health contact: Ramona DuBose, (919) 966-7467,
Graduate school contact: Deb Makemson, (919) 843-3494,
News Services contact: L.J. Toler, (919) 962-8589