Thanks to one visionary professor and some enterprising businessmen, the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science has established the Geofoam Research Center, the first U.S. center to study the properties of geofoam.
      In short, it's the same material used in the production of polystyrene cups and packaging, only it's molded into blocks and sheets for use as lightweight fill at construction sites and as insulation for roads, runways, and building foundations.
      Here in Syracuse, the Carousel Center sits ringed by buried blocks of geofoam to offset the lateral stresses on the building's foundation. Through that project, Dawit Negussey, professor in the College of Engineering's Division of Mechanical, Civil, and Chemical Systems, first studied geofoam in 1989.
      The results of his subsequent research into the properties and alternative applications of geofoam have been a vital resource for designers and builders throughout the United States and internationally. His presence at Syracuse drew the attention of geofoam manufacturers—Insulation Corporation of America (Pennsylvania), Georgia Foam (Georgia), and Mid-Atlantic Foam (Virginia)—who've given $500,000 in start-up funds for the new center.
      "Our firm did not initially understand what we had to do to supply this material," says William Dean, president of Insulation Corporation of America. Dean's company was hired to supply geofoam for the construction of the gigantic new Palisades Center mall in West Nyack, New York. "We knew Professor Negussey had been studying geofoam, so we solicited his help. I realized what a bonus it was to have his insight, and I learned of his dream to have a research institute to study geofoam and expand its applications."
Able to support large structures with lightweight blocks, it's geofoam! Here, graduate student Michael Sheeley balances a block behind Professor Dawit Negussey.

      Dean contacted his friend Randall Pinson, general manager of Georgia Foam and Mid-Atlantic Foam, and the two decided to work together to support Negussey's research.
      "The potential for this product is huge," says Pinson. "This is going to be a significant product for the whole block molder industry."
      Negussey says establishment of the new center at SU represents both the optimism of the manufacturing community for the future of geofoam and the University's commitment to innovative research.
      Says Dean Edward A. Bogucz Jr.: "This is a fantastic opportunity for our students and faculty."

One of the latest campaign gifts is providing a direct service to students with an urgent need. James Miller's major gift to the R.A.P.E. Center has enabled director Dolores Card to hire a full-time professional counselor. The center (its name is an acronym for Rape: Advocacy, Prevention, and Education) was founded in 1989."
      It was very needed," says Card, who worked as a counselor and program director at the city of Syracuse's Rape Crisis Center before coming to SU in 1996. "Our cases here have risen since I've arrived. There were 30 rape and sexual assault cases reported to us my first year. Last year, there were 58."
      Card believes the center's on-campus education campaign promoting its services has led to the increase in assault reports.
      "Students who've been sexually assaulted need crisis intervention to get them through the initial trauma," says Card. "But then they need ongoing counseling; it's essential for recovery. Especially for college-aged people, who have so much other stuff going on in their lives, they need someone to help them through that difficult period and empower them with the skills to be able to complete their life plans."
      The $125,000 gift, says Card, was "a complete surprise."
      Miller, a 1963 Arts and Sciences graduate and president of Worldwide Theatrical Business Operations for Warner Bros. Inc., stepped forward with this support because "I have a daughter, so naturally I think about issues like these."
      I was looking for something specific to support," says Miller. "This is an important issue, and Chancellor Shaw started dealing with it almost from the time he first came to campus. Violence and date rape-these are important issues, especially for young people, and we need to educate both males and females. This is a necessary facility to have on campus."

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Main Home Page Summer 1998 Issue Contents
Chancellor's Message Opening Remarks In Basket
H. Douglas Barclay Vision Quest Student Career Services
Reserve Officers Training Corps Quad Angles Campaign News
Student Center Faculty Focus Research Report
View From The Hill University Place

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