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Iowa State professor to study Nervi's architecture in Rome

Iowa State professor to study Nervi's architecture in Rome

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LINCOLN — Iowa State University architecture professor Thomas Leslie, winner of a 2013 Rome Prize, will spend six months in the Italian city studying the postwar architecture of Pier Luigi Nervi.

Leslie was one of 30 artists and scholars chosen by the American Academy in Rome for the prestigious resident fellowship.

Previous winners in the 120-year-old competition have included architects Louis Kahn, Richard Meier, Michael Graves and Maya Lin, as well as composer Aaron Copland, author William Styron and artist Frank Stella.

Leslie, whose past research has focused on the interplay between structural engineering and architecture, proposed studying Nervi, an architect and engineer known for his technical mastery of reinforced concrete and large, dramatically designed buildings.

Many of Nervi's buildings are now falling into disrepair, in part because they aren't readily recognized as historic.

Leslie plans to use his research to write a book on Nervi, as well as to start a discussion of which postwar buildings ought to be preserved. He said he wants to dig into Nervi's archives to understand how he engineered the “fantastic curving shapes” of his buildings in an era before computers.

Leslie was named Iowa State's Pickard Chilton Professor in Architecture in 2011. The endowed professorship included a research allowance that Leslie used to visit major Nervi sites in Rome last summer, where he documented the buildings' preservation problems and made connections with owners and preservationists.

Leslie credited the trip as a major factor in developing a convincing proposal for his Rome Prize, which was announced April 18 in New York City.

Lograsso to be interim director of Ames Lab

The Ames Laboratory, a U.S. Department of Energy facility operated by Iowa State University, has named Thomas Lograsso as its interim director.

Lograsso succeeds Alex King, who is stepping down to lead the laboratory's Critical Materials Institute, a $120 million Energy Innovation Hub announced by the Department of Energy in January.

A search committee will be formed soon with a goal of naming the lab's next director in 2014.

Lograsso, who holds a doctorate in metallurgical engineering from the Michigan Technological University, has been a scientist at the Ames Laboratory since 1988.

UNO philanthropists donate to nonprofit

Students from the University of Nebraska at Omaha recently donated $10,000 to a local nonprofit group as part of a special class on philanthropy.

Seven students and their instructor, Angie Eikenberry, an associate professor of public administration, donated the funds to the Hope Center for Kids in Omaha. The money, which was provided by Omaha's Learning by Giving Foundation, will be used for the organization's operating costs.

The class, which is part of the UNO Honors Program, teaches students about philanthropy and how to evaluate organizations for possible contributions.

The Hope Center for Kids offers an education program to K-12 students who need academic help. It also sponsors a follow-up program for its graduates.

In the past, Eikenberry's class, Philanthropy and Democracy, has donated to organizations such as City Sprouts and Building Bright Futures.

Bellevue U partners with Scottsbluff college

Bellevue University is partnering with Western Nebraska Community College to offer classes on the Scottsbluff campus beginning this fall.

The agreement will allow students to take three years of classes at the community college before transferring credits to complete a bachelor's degree at Bellevue, said President Todd Holcomb of Western Nebraska Community College.

The agreement between the two schools also will provide additional income for the community college faculty members who are hired to teach Bellevue University classes.

Wayne students' aim: boost museum visitors

Wayne State College students recently completed a service learning project for the Wayne County Museum in which they created a portfolio of research from museums across the country. Teams of students worked together to create a website, brochures, newsletters, mission and vision statements, donor letters and even a grant application.

Each idea was designed to bring in more visitors and build awareness of the museum's offerings.

Business communications and managerial communications students worked with Lois Shelton, president of the Wayne County Historical Society.

One student said the project taught them that running a museum takes more work and dedication than they realized.

Contact the writer: 402-473-9581,

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