Greetings from the Chair

February 2015

Mike Deschenes

Greetings to all of you W&M Kinesiology & Health Sciences alumni out there!

The spring semester is well underway, although at this point though it sure doesn’t feel that way.  It is very cold and windy today making it feel like spring won’t really get here any time soon. But, as you know, the weather can change here in the ’Burg very quickly!

Just a few days ago we received the good news that Prof. Alison Scott’s promotion to the rank of Associate Professor with tenure was approved by the College’s Board of Visitors, after prior approval by the Retention, Promotion and Tenure Committee, the Dean of Arts & Sciences, and the Provost. This is well deserved and we are all so proud of Alison's accomplishments. More good news was received just today. We found out that Prof. Brennan Harris is one of this year’s recipients of the prestigious Plumeri Award. This reflects so positively on the caliber of our faculty, and their ongoing relationships with our students as they play such a critical role in the research that we do here in the department.

Another one of our faculty, Prof. Ken Kambis has been busy over the last few weeks trying to get a 14,000 ft. mountain peak in Colorado named for the College. Ken has traveled back and forth from Washington, D.C., to Leadville, Colo., to convince the proper authorities that based on historical ties there is a natural relationship between the mountaintop and the College. Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe, both educated at W&M, led the effort to obtain the land in question when they negotiated the Louisiana Purchase in the early nineteenth century, thus forming a natural connection between W&M and the mountaintop in question. Sounds pretty convincing to me, let’s hope the U.S. Board of Geographic Names concurs, and you high-altitude types can climb Mt. William & Mary sometime in the future.

In Kinesiology & Health Sciences we are blessed not only with terrific faculty, but outstanding students as well. For example, Ellen Shaffrey, a senior majoring in our department, was recently inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, the prestigious academic organization. Ellen has a perfect GPA of 4.0 while taking the rigorous pre-med curriculum, devoting a great deal of time and energy to the varsity lacrosse team (she’s a co-captain), and conducting laboratory-based research with Prof. Deschenes.  We are very proud to count her as one of our own. Another K&HS major, Christy Craig, served as a co-author with Prof. Scott Ickes on a research paper published recently in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition. Thanks for making us look good Scott and Christy! And did I mention that in addition to remarkable students and faculty, Kinesiology & Health Sciences is also fortunate to have incredible alumni? (Nothing wrong with a little flattery, right?)

Another development at the recent Board of Visitors meeting was the determination that the College’s campus plan or building and construction will include phase 4 of the Integrated Science Center (ISC-4) and that our department will move to this new complex upon its completion. This is exciting news, but don’t hold your breath. This is a 20-year plan, and we’re not sure where construction of ISC-4 fits into that plan. Administrators talk of it happening sometime between the next 5 and 20 years. Still, this is something to hang our hats on. Also, it was
recently decided that for this year at least, our department’s traditional graduation ceremony will be held in Trinkle Hall rather than in the Adair Gymnasium. We should, however, be able to return to Adair for graduation in 2016, after renovations (installing an elevator) to Adair have been completed.

Let me remind you that throughout the year you can keep up with what is going on in your department (you are always part of the family) by visiting our website. And while you’re there, check out the nice things that Chris Wilson has added to our website.

And as always we love hearing what is new in your lives. If you have something that you’d like to share with the rest of us, please use our online form to do so.

Please take care and keep in touch,

Michael R. Deschenes

Chair and Professor