Campus Notebook

November/December 2003

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Campus Notebook

Founding an Islamic Studies Program

Student interest in courses on Islam soared after the September 11 attacks, says religious studies professor Robert Gregg. And with the receipt of $9 million to establish a program and professorship in Islamic studies, the University is better equipped to meet demand. Atherton residents Sohaib and Sara Abbasi donated $2.5 million for the program, which Gregg will head, and Lysbeth Warren, ’54, endowed the professorship with a gift of $2 million. The Hewlett Foundation matched both gifts.

Early-Action Reaction

When Yale and Stanford announced that they would replace their early-decision admission programs with single-choice early-action policies last year, it seemed a trendsetting compromise. Seniors could still apply to one school early, but were not bound to attend. Admissions staff, in turn, would not be overwhelmed by a deluge of early applications. But by refusing to allow students to apply early to multiple schools, the policies violated the rules of the National Association for College Admission Counseling. Now, the association has announced that it will not sanction Stanford, Yale or Harvard—which recently returned to single-choice early action—and instead will launch a two-year study to examine the entire admission process.

Archaeologists Unearth Massive Ego


While Roman emperors were hardly known for their humility, Caligula may have had the biggest God complex, according to findings by archaeologists from Stanford, Oxford and the American Institute for Roman Culture. During a summer dig, the researchers unearthed evidence supporting ancient accounts that the emperor extended his palace to the podium of the Temple of Castor and Pollux. “It’s the equivalent of Queen Elizabeth taking over St. Paul’s Cathedral as an anteroom,” says assistant classics professor Jennifer Trimble, who led the Stanford team of three graduate and nine undergraduate students. “It’s just outrageous.”

Influenza: The Latest Bioterror Worry

Everyone’s heard that bioterrorists may be stockpiling anthrax and smallpox. But the flu? Indeed, say Medical Center researchers led by microbiology and immunology professor Ann Arvin. Influenza has characteristics that make it a possible weapon—including efficient person-to-person transmission, the potential to be aerosolized and an ability to cause incapacitating or life-threatening illness. The team has received $15 million from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to study how flu vaccines protect the respiratory tract and to improve them for use against a weaponized form of the virus.

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