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Inside WFU

Wake Forest news for faculty and staff


January 2014 faculty milestones

See a list of employment milestones reached by faculty in January 2014:

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External support for WFU research remains strong

The following letter is adapted from director of Research and Sponsored Programs Lori Messer’s introduction to the October issue of Research News:

Reynolda Campus research had an excellent year. For fiscal year 2013, total external support for projects exceeded $9.8 million, the second-highest amount in campus history, and that was not including five fellowships for scholarship in the arts, humanities and social sciences. The total is even more remarkable when you consider that $8.4 million, about 86 percent, comes from federal sources limited by sequestration budget cuts.

FY13 saw 22 departments and centers receive sponsored research funding, and nearly all increased its total over FY12. Health and exercise science received the most, with physics running a close second.

Faculty and staff in 32 departments and centers submitted 152 external proposals, requesting more than $38 million. Chemistry submitted the most proposals and requested the most funding.

We would like to recognize two of our former CRADLE program participants, Oana Jurchescu and Timo Thonhauser, both in physics, who received prestigious CAREER awards from the National Science Foundation. WFU has received five such awards, with Patricia Dos Santos and Rebecca Alexander in chemistry and Dave Anderson in biology already gaining that distinction.

CRADLE (Creative Research Activities Development and Enrichment) is a two-year program that helps Wake Foresters develop competitive external funding proposals.

The NSF CAREER Award is a $400,000 award given to the nation’s top junior faculty members and is meant to support their research, encourage excellent teaching, mentorship and community outreach.

Another graduate of the CRADLE program, assistant professor of chemistry Lindsay Comstock-Ferguson, received her first independent federal funding. The following faculty and staff also received their first individual external grants at WFU:

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Proposals funded: Plemmons, Anderson

Bob PlemmonsCongratulations to Robert (Bob) Plemmons, professor of mathematics, whose proposal entitled “Comprehensive Space-Object Characterization using Spectrally Compressive Polarimetric Imaging” has been funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) and the University of New Mexico (WFU funding agency).

David AndersonCongratulations to David J. Anderson, professor of biology, whose proposal entitled “Life History evolution in Galapagos boobies” has been funded by the Galapagos Conservancy.

August 2013 comings and goings

See a list of employees joining and leaving the University in August 2013: Continue reading »

August 2013 faculty milestones

See a list of employment milestones reached by faculty in August 2013: Continue reading »

Proposals funded: Salsbury, Erway

Freddie SalsburyCongratulations to Freddie Salsbury, associate professor of physics, whose proposal entitled “Targeting the MSH2-dependent Apopototic Pathway” has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) under award number 5R01CA129373-05 REVISED.


Jennifer ErwayCongratulations to Jennifer Erway, associate professor of mathematics, whose proposal entitled “Collaborative research: Trust-Search Methods for Inverse Problems in Imaging” has been funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Wake Forest legends Casey, Sawyer pass away

Two important figures in Wake Forest history passed away this week.

Dot Casey

Dot CaseyDorothy “Dot” Casey, a member of the WFU Sports Hall of Fame, died on July 16 at the age of 87.

Few people were more important to the evolution of women’s athletics at Wake Forest than Casey, who came to Wake Forest in 1949. Before 1971, women only competed in intramural athletics at Wake Forest. But Casey and lifelong friend Marge Crisp teamed to start an intercollegiate program that became the foundation of women’s athletics today.

A memorial service will be held on Friday at 2 p.m. at the Salemtowne Retirement Community Center with a reception immediately following. A formal burial will take place at 11 a.m. on Saturday in Dudley, N.C, at the Emmaus Baptist Church.

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Jack Sawyer

Jack Sawyer John Wesley “Jack” Sawyer (’38, MS ’43), a mathematics professor emeritus who was called “an important figure in the modern history of Wake Forest,” died in his sleep July 13. He was 95.

Wake Forest Provost Emeritus Ed Wilson said that Sawyer contributed a great amount to the school in academia, athletics and art. Sawyer joined the mathematics department at Wake Forest in 1956, the year the school moved to Winston-Salem.

In 1993, the department of mathematics and computer science established a John W. Sawyer Prize in Computer Science, which is awarded in his honor annually to a senior.

Sawyer also served as president of the ACC four times and as an NCAA vice-president after extensive work on multiple NCAA committees.

Sawyer’s son said his father also loved music and could play almost any kind of wind or keyboard instrument. Wilson said he remembers him playing the organ at many Wake Forest basketball games.

Services will be held at 2 p.m. in Wait Chapel on Sunday. Visitation will be held at Hayworth-Miller Funeral Home on Silas Creek Parkway from 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturday.

Read more from the Winston-Salem Journal »

July 2013 faculty milestones

See a list of employment milestones reached by faculty in July 2013: Continue reading »

Congratulations to retiring faculty, staff

The following is a message from President Nathan Hatch: 


While commencement season always brings about a sense of new beginnings and opportunities, it’s also a time to say thank you and bid farewell to many of our friends, colleagues and mentors who have called Wake Forest University home.

Please join me in congratulating and commemorating a marvelous class of Reynolda Campus faculty and staff retiring from Wake Forest this year. We are grateful for the many contributions from this remarkable group of individuals, who together have more than 800 years of service to the University: Continue reading »

Plemmons selected as SIAM Fellow

Bob PlemmonsBob Plemmons (’61), Z. Smith Reynolds professor of mathematics and computer science, has been selected as a Fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM).

The fellowship honors SIAM members who have made outstanding contributions to the fields served by the organization.

“Being selected as a Fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics means a lot to me in terms of accomplishments as I retire from teaching at Wake Forest, although my research activities will continue for a few more years,” Plemmons said. “This Society has been my home professional organization throughout my academic career, spanning forty-seven years and four universities, with the last twenty-three spent at my alma mater, Wake Forest.”

The focus for SIAM is applied, computational and industrial mathematics, and the society often promotes its acronym as “Science and Industry Advance with Mathematics.” It was founded in 1950 in Philadelphia and currently has more than 15,000 members worldwide.

“My research is centered around applied research directly addressed by SIAM,” Plemmons said, “and I’ve been a very active member over the years in terms of administration and conference organizing.”