Alabama's Public Liberal Arts University

News and Events

Wednesday Memo
Dec. 10, 2014

Lawrence DeLucas to be commencement speaker

Falcons finish 25th at national championship

Development grant and stipend recipients announced


Lawrence DeLucas to be commencement speaker


The University of Montevallo has announced that the speaker for fall commencement ceremonies Dec. 12 will be Dr. Lawrence J. DeLucas, a former payload specialist for NASA and a professor in the department of optometry at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

A native of Syracuse, New York, DeLucas holds a B.S. and an M.S. in chemistry, a B.S. in physiological optics, the O.D. (optometry) and the Ph.D. in biochemistry, all from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. In addition to his duties as a professor, he serves as director of the Center for Structural Biology and the director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center X-Ray Crystallography Shared Facility at UAB. He also is a senior scientist in the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, the UAB Vision Sciences Research Center and the UAB Institute of Oral Health.

From 1990-1992, DeLucas was a NASA astronaut payload specialist and flew on the Columbia Space Shuttle flight STS-50 in June 1992, participating in 31 different scientific materials processing experiments. After this flight, he served as the NASA Chief Scientist for the International Space Station at NASA headquarters until 1995.

In 1999, DeLucas was recognized as one of the scientists who could shape the 21st century in an article titled “The Brains Behind the 21st Century,” published by The Sunday Times of London. In 2002, he was inducted into the National Optometry Hall of Fame and, in March 2014, he was inducted into the National Academy of Inventors.

DeLucas frequently makes scientific and educational presentations to area schools, youth organizations and academic conferences on topics from biotechnology to the International Space Station to cystic fibrosis research.

The commencement ceremony will begin at 5 p.m. in the McChesney Student Activity Center.


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Falcons finish 25th at national championship

Courtesy: UM Sports Information

In the NCAA Division II Cross Country National Championship, the University of Montevallo women’s cross country team placed 25th of 32 teams.

The Falcons, who won the Southeast Region Championship, placed well ahead of their regional counterparts, finishing 193 points ahead of Wingate and 286 points ahead of fellow Peach Belt institution North Georgia.

Due to the muddy conditions at the course, the race was shortened by more than 200 meters. Officially, the race was a 5,780 meter race.

Leading the way for Montevallo was sophomore Cheyenne Thompson. Thompson was the only runner on Saturday for UM who had previous experience at the National Championship, qualifying as an individual last season. The Chelsea native finished in 66th place, with a time of 22:34.7.

Thompson’s 66th place finish is the highest finish for an individual at Nationals in school history.

Freshman Hannah Evans was the second finisher for Montevallo, crossing the finish line in 117th place. Evans had a time of 23:02.

Another freshman, Sierra Millsaps, was next up for the Falcons. She finished with a time of 23:25.2 and finished in 151st place.

Katherine Terino was next up for Montevallo, finishing in 163rd, just eight seconds behind Millsaps. The sophomore had a time of 23:33.6.

Katie Nelson, the Peach Belt Conference Runner of the Year, was the fifth place finisher for the Falcons. She had a time 23:49.5 and was in 187th place.

Sophomore Anna Leinheiser was less than a second behind Nelson. She was 189th with a final time of 23:49.9.

Natalie Shoemaker was the seventh runner for Montevallo. The sophomore finished with a time of 25:01 in 227th place.

The Falcons won all but one race in the 2014 season coming into last Saturday’s race, and concludes the best season in school history as the 25th ranked team in the country.


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Development grant and stipend recipients announced

Congratulations to the recipients of Course Development Grants for 2015-2016 and Summer Stipends for 2015.

Course Development Grant recipients are:

• Susan Caplow (Environmental Studies): ES 200, Environment and Society (formerly Introduction to Environmental Studies);

• Emily Gill (Theatre): THEA 419, Costume Construction II Update and Revision; and

• Michael Willett (Art): ART 101, Drawing for Non-Majors Online.

Summer Stipends recipients are:

• Joseph Sargent (Music): Nathaniel Giles: Service Music;

• Christine Sestero (Biology): Characterization of TG/TGFR3 Signaling Pathways in Autoimmune Disease; and

• Heather Tinsley (Biology): Characterization of cGMP Signaling in Human Breast Cancer.

Course Development Grants are designed to support development of new courses or redesign of existing courses. Summer Stipends are intended to assist pre-tenured faculty in completing research or creative projects at a critical time in their careers.

All Course Development Grant and Summer Stipend proposals are reviewed by the Faculty Development Advisory Committee (FDAC) and its recommendations endorsed by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.


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