News highlights for February 21, 2011

CisionPoint news monitoring provides this small sampling of the university's daily news coverage. Click headline to read full text via Cision or link directly to the online article where available. For questions or comments about this service, or to add or delete a name from the mailing list, please contact Gerry Everding.


Thomas Jefferson books discovered


Ann Lucas from the International Center for Jefferson Studies and Shirley Baker, Washington University Dean of Libraries, talk about the discovery of 74 books belonging to Thomas Jefferson. These books, held at the university’s libraries for 131 years, have been confirmed by Monticello scholars as having belonged to Thomas Jefferson himself. They are part of the university’s rare books collection, and were not identified by the books’ donor in 1880 as a part of Jefferson’s personal collection. Link to Article See also MSNBC, St. Louis Business Journal, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Examiner, AOL Video,, USA Today, Fox2 (St. Louis), St. Louis Public Radio, Belleville News Democrat.

Related news release

New York Times | Economix

Revisiting the value of elite colleges


A decade ago, two economists — Stacy Dale and Alan Krueger — published a research paper arguing that elite colleges did not seem to give most graduates an earnings boost. As you might expect, the paper received a ton of attention. Ms. Dale and Mr. Krueger have just finished a new version of the study — with vastly more and better data, covering people into their 40s and 50s, as well as looking at a set of more recent college graduates — and the new version comes to the same conclusion. Washington University in St. Louis is among the elite colleges whose graduates took part in the study. Link to Article

Discovery News

The outfall of a helium-3 crisis


The United States is currently recovering from a helium isotope crisis that last year sent low-temperature physicists scrambling, sky-rocketed the cost of hospital MRIs, and threw national security staff out on a search mission for alternate ways to detect dirty bombs. Jason Woods of Washington University in St. Louis worked with German engineers to develop a way of recycling the helium after it is used in imaging a patient’s lungs. Until the FDA approves the recycled helium for humans, however, Woods anticipates this may be a way for veterinarians to access the coveted helium-3. Link to Article

American Medical News

Doctor-lawyer advocacy: When medicine isn’t enough


Medical-legal partnerships team up physicians and lawyers to help remove legal and social barriers that prevent vulnerable populations from getting needed care. The Children’s Health Advocacy Program is working with St. Louis school districts to reform access to special education to prevent a lack of follow-through by schools in providing individual education plans to developmentally challenged patients entitled to the services, says Sarah Garwood, MD, a specialist in adolescent medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Link to Article

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

College endowments bouncing back


University endowments reported stronger gains last year, but they still have a long way to go before recovering from recession-related losses. The St. Louis area’s largest endowment belongs to Washington University, which reported growth of nearly 10 percent, bringing it to $4.47 billion. Still, the 17th largest endowment in the study remains well off the $5.66 billion WU reported in summer of 2007. “We did tighten our belt these last couple of years,” said Barbara Feiner, the university’s vice chancellor for finance. “It affects our ability to fund things at the level we would like to.” Link to Article

MIT Press Journals
In the Belly of the Beast: Hawthorne in England

Robert Milder, professor of English and director of graduate studies at Washington University in St. Louis, is the author of an essay on “In the Belly of the Beast: Hawthorne in England” in the March 2011 New England Quarterly. “Hawthorne’s years in England, the least studied phase of his career, are especially significant for the challenge that English materialism posed to his New England austerity and his romancer’s idealism,” he writes in an article available online. Link to Article

Next Big Future

Metamaterial with record positive index of refraction of 38.6


Researchers in Korea have created a new metamaterial with the most extreme positive index of refraction yet — a whopping 38.6. The metamaterial operates at terahertz frequencies and the team believes that it could find use in a number of applications including high-resolution imaging. Jung-Tsung Shen of Washington University in Missouri calls the work “very significant”, noting that the Korean team’s high-index material is also flexible rather than rigid. “I believe their results could find potential applications in many situations where terahertz frequencies are used,” he says, citing security checkpoints and skin cancer diagnosis. Link to Article

Teacher Lingo
Call for applications: NEH summer seminar: Varieties of American feminism, 1830-1930

March 1 is the deadline for applications for a teachers’ seminar called “Varieties of American Feminism, 1830-1930,” which is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Program in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. It will be held on the Wash U campus, for four weeks from June 27 to July 22, 2011. The purpose of the seminar is to provide teachers an opportunity to discuss with colleagues some of the great writings and speeches from America’s first feminist movement. Link to Article

Island Press:Three Decades of Printmaking


Since its formation in 1978, Island Press has evolved from a traditional contract print shop — producing high quality editions in standard media and formats — into a uniquely collaborative and educational enterprise known for complex, large-scale works by a range of nationally and internationally renowned artists. The Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum at Washington University in St. Louis is exploring that evolution with Island Press: Three Decades of Printmaking. Curated by Karen K. Butler, assistant curator of the Kemper Art Museum, the exhibition surveys more than two-dozen works highlighting the press’ history of technical innovation, artistic experimentation and student participation. Link to Article

Omega-3s may counter degenerative muscle loss


High dose omega-3 may combat muscle loss associated with aging. Four grams per day of omega-3 fatty acids for eight weeks were found to increase the rate of muscle protein synthesis associated with increased supply of amino acids and insulin, according to a new study. Bettina Mittendorfer, PhD, from the Division of Geriatrics and Nutritional Science at Washington University School of Medicine in Saint Louis and corresponding author of the study told that, as far as the researchers are aware, this is the first study to report potential anti-sarcopenia effects of omega-3 fatty acids. Link to Article

The Masa Israel Blog
Altruism and ideology in Otzma

After graduating from Washington University in St. Louis where she majored in Women’s Studies and Italian, Annie Lascoe knew she wanted to spend the year volunteering in Israel. Having previously traveled to Israel for various summer programs, Annie wanted a longer and more immersive experience, so she enrolled in Otzma, a year-long service-focused program. “I believe in Israel and think that Jews should spend time there and feel like they have a personal stake in the land,” she says. Link to Article

The Oregonian / Associated Press

Oregon measure pitches college savings for newborns


With college costs growing faster than wages, the Oregon College Savings Plan offers parents a program where savings can grow tax-free. Faced with a surprising lack of interest in the program, the state is considering kicking in $100 if parents match it within a year of their child’s birth. In the U.S., at least two states have had lower-than-expected response rates to similar giveaways. In Oklahoma, a pilot program deposited $1,000 in college savings accounts for 1,350 babies and encouraged parents to open and fund their own side accounts. Only 16 percent did, according to research by the College Savings Initiative at the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis. Link to Article See also WSLS News (Roanake, Va.)

Bloomington Alternative

The IU coal-free campaign


Students at Indiana University and other campuses across the nation are organizing against burning coal for energy. IU students have their own vigorous IU Coal-Free Campaign. “We’re very lucky that we don’t have administrators that are basically in bed with the coal industry as at other campuses,” said Lauren Kastner, president of Coal-Free IU. “We’ve got friends like at universities like Washington University in St. Louis that are fighting the coal industry from all sides on their campus. It’s horrifying. One of their board of trustees at Washington University is from Peabody Coal. He was just named by Rolling Stone as one of 10 people who are the reason why we don’t have clean energy legislation. Link to Article

Open/Closed: Exploring Vacant Land in St. Louis – March 18-19


Open/Closed, the first annual summit on vacant land, buildings and property in St. Louis, will be held March 18-19 at various locations in the St. Louis community. Organized and developed by and Frontier St. Louis and made possible with the generous support of the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis and the Rebuild Foundation, the free program is an opportunity for community stakeholders, leaders, artists and activists to strengthen their knowledge of the vacant property issue and to develop new solutions. Link to Article

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Dana Loesch took some jabs in the past at her current employer, CNN


CNN hired Dana Loesch, a south St. Louisan and co-founder of the local Tea Party, as a political contributor last week. And then yesterday, TVNewser, an industry blog hosted by, reported about comments Loesch had made about CNN on some blog posts. And locally, Washington University’s student newspaper, “Student Life” published an article today about how students and faculty are divided over CNN’s decision to hire Loesch. Link to Article See also St. Louis Activist Hub

St. Louis Beacon

Review: Powerful prints at the Mildred Lane Kemper museum


On the occasion of “Equilibrium,” the March 2011 Southern Graphics Council International conference hosted by the Sam Fox School at Washington University, the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum has staged three outstanding exhibits featuring print media. “Island Press: Three Decades of Printmaking” shows off the enormous range of works to come out of the university’s own printshop, including everything from traditional editions to experimental and collaborative efforts, by artists including Ann Hamilton, Chris Duncan, Hung Liu, Tom Friedman and many others. Link to Article

Ladue News
Vaccine-preventable diseases

Vaccines are responsible for eradicating and controlling many deadly diseases, but some parents remain concerned about a recently dispelled link between childhood vaccines and autism. The controversy may be limiting the numbers of girls receiving the CDC-recommended HPV vaccine. “Girls and their parents should discuss the HPV vaccine with their physician and then make an informed decision based on factual information,” says Dr. Diane Merritt, a pediatric and adolescent gynecologist with Washington University. Link to Article

News in Higher Education

New York Times
U.S. public universities face ‘uneven’ immediate future


Four-year public universities in the United States may face increased competition with community colleges and private universities in the wake of the economic downturn, according to a recent report by Standard & Poor’s. Increased competition from private universities might intensify because private universities don’t face the same cuts as public institutions, it said. Link to Article

New York Times

University of Arizona sets up civility institute
The University of Arizona — whose Tucson campus President Obama used for his nationwide address on civility after the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords last month — is establishing an institute to promote compromise among opposing political parties and views, the organization’s director said on Sunday. President Bill Clinton and President George H. W. Bush will serve as honorary chairmen of the foundation, to be called the National Institute for Civil Discourse. Link to Article

For additional higher education news (subscription may be required):
The Chronicle of Higher Education
Inside Higher Ed
University Business

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