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China launched its Olympic torch relay from Tiananmen Square, where Bill Kavanagh sits with 5,000 children.

China launched its Olympic torch relay from Tiananmen Square, where Bill Kavanagh sits with 5,000 children.

Grad guides Olympic Torch around the world in 35 days

Traveling around the world to manage ceremonies for the Olympic Torch’s first "global" relay sounds like a dream come true. Yet managing a different ceremony every night for 34 straight days, often with a crew who spoke only their native language, sounds a bit nightmarish. And it was, says relay production manager Bill Kavanagh, DAAP ’78.

On one hand, the Los Angeles resident got to work with stars like Rod Stewart and Ozzy Osbourne, who gave a concert in London; Tom Cruise, Sylvester Stallone and Ellen Degeneres, who were L.A. torchbearers; and gold medal gymnast Nadia Comaneci, who slid down a cable onto Times Square from a skyscraper. ("You couldn’t see the cable; she looked like Tinker Bell flying in," he says.)

On the flip side, Kavanagh changed time zones 37 times, had to communicate in 19 different languages and averaged only three or four hours of sleep a night, usually on one of two 747s where, at least, he had his own private row in which to stretch out.

In 27 countries, his ultimate responsibility involved getting the final torchbearer of the day to arrive at an impressive sunset ceremony at a specific time. Consequently, one of the first things he needed on site was the script for the event the local community had planned. Of course, he could rarely read a word of it, and local interpreters could seldom translate technical production terms vital to Kavanagh.

In Cairo, the language barrier created the biggest problem when two Egyptians, whom he couldn't understand, put him on a camel and led him into the desert before he realized they weren't crew members. His cries for help fell on deaf sand until he emptied the cash from his pockets and the men let him off.

Kavanagh was also production manager for the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics Torch Relay, which remained in the United States and attracted much smaller crowds than the 250,000 people in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which had never before hosted the relay.

Crowds that large often became impassible, creating a logistics nightmare for Kavanagh, who eventually had to keep 3,000 torchbearers on schedule. Nevertheless, Kavanagh says the entire staff found it "pretty amazing that we went through 27 countries without a hitch and exactly on time."

Well, Kavanagh did fall off the stage in Barcelona and got stitches in his head, but the show was on time.

2004 Summer Olympics Web site

University of Cincinnati board member Sandra Heimann (right) greeted commencement speaker Coretta Scott King, HonDoc '04, at last spring's graduation ceremonies.

UC board member Sandra Heimann (right) greeted speaker Coretta Scott King, HonDoc '04, at graduation ceremonies.

Martin Luther King's widow
addresses graduates:
Hold fast to compassion

It was difficult to tell who was having the most fun at UC's 185th commencement -- the Class of 2004, their proud families or UC's newly installed president Nancy Zimpher.

In her first address to a UC graduating class, Zimpher joked about the obstacles they had to overcome on the way to earning a degree. "You have pulled your last all-nighter and hopefully eaten your last slice of cold pizza for breakfast," she said.

"You've procrastinated on a class assignment for the last time by watching 'American Idol.' You’ve dropped off that long overdue library book you discovered under your bed. And you've made your last detour around UC construction," she quipped over laughter. "The transformation of this campus has given our graduates a great foundation for dealing with change."

Speaking more seriously, the president noted that this year's 3,923 graduates are now part of more than 200,000 living UC alumni. Although they had originally come from 37 states and 52 countries, she assured them they were more than welcome to make Cincinnati their home.

Commencement speaker Coretta Scott King, widow of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., urged graduates to remain open to new opportunities, but hold fast to compassion and the voice of conscience, to speak out against bigotry and violence whenever it emerges and to become global citizens who work toward policies that will assist impoverished people around the world.

She was presented an honorary doctor of humane letters degree because of her lifelong dedication to human rights.

The university also awarded honorary degrees to Randy Edelman, CCM '69, composer, musician and songwriter; Joan Herschede, business leader and UC supporter; Cathryn Hosea Hilker, A&S '54, wildlife conservationist and educator; Donald Osterbrock, expert in astrophysics and astronomy; and Joseph Steger, UC president emeritus.

Students try to free man they believe wrongly jailed

A man serving a nine-year sentence for aggravated vehicular homicide may win a new trial and freedom thanks to the diligent work of a group of UC law students who say he has been wrongly imprisoned.

Christopher Bennett contacted the College of Law's Ohio Innocence Project last year to ask for help. Bennett pleaded guilty in the 2001 death of his friend, 42-year-old Ronnie Young, after the van in which they were riding crashed near Canton, Ohio. The 28-year-old, however, suffered significant head injuries in the crash and had no memory of the accident.

Although prosecutors said Bennett was the driver, UC law students found new evidence that they say proves he was the passenger. Hair on the vent and a bloody paper towel, collected from the passenger's side of the van a week before a junkyard crushed it, were submitted by the students to Hoxworth Blood Center where DNA confirmed it as Bennett's.

If that wasn't enough, the students tracked down the first witness on the scene, who signed an affidavit saying he found Bennett in the passenger's seat just seconds after the accident.

Bennett says he pled guilty only because he had no memory of the accident and the prosecution's witness had placed him in the driver's seat. The man killed in the crash was found between the seats.

Bennett is awaiting the judge's ruling on the motion submitted by Ohio Innocence Project faculty director, UC assistant professor Mark Godsey, requesting the court reconsider Bennett's conviction and allow him to withdraw his guilty plea.

UC's Ohio Innocence Project began last year as an effort to free wrongly convicted persons in Ohio's prisons. Bennett’s case became the project's first legal appeal.


Bennett earns freedom


UC's Ohio Innocence Project

Coach Huggins' suspension lifted

Head basketball coach Bob Huggins was expected to return to his duties Aug. 27, 2004 following his June 12 suspension for driving under the influence. The 15-year coach of the Bearcats made no excuse for the incident he called "a terrible mistake."

UC president Nancy Zimpher, Board of Trustees chair Phillip Cox and athletics director Bob Goin said in a joint release that "coach Huggins has taken appropriate steps while under suspension and will, with continued effort, be ready to resume his position at the end of August.

"The coach has fulfilled the legal obligations resulting from the incident that prompted his suspension. He has taken appropriate action to focus on his health and his family. And he has demonstrated that he more clearly understands the expectations of the university and the athletics department regarding his personal and professional performance."

Said Huggins: "I'm deeply appreciative of the way the university handled my situation, allowing me the opportunity to return to the role that I love, being the head basketball coach at the University of Cincinnati. During my time away … it's allowed me time to reflect on changes that certainly I can make personally and … professionally."

According to the university's statement, "The athletics program must, by virtue of its visibility, reflect the integrity and values of the institution's academic mission. Neither the decision to suspend nor the decision to conclude the suspension was made lightly. We are satisfied that coach Huggins understands the seriousness of these decisions, as well as our concerns and expectations."

Trojan horse: Classics professor tells real from reel

As moviegoers watched Greeks battle Trojans on the big screen in May, UC classics professor Brian Rose was meeting his own challenge: trying to keep up with press requests for the real story of Troy, rather than its "reel" version.

The archaeologist gave interviews to the New York Times, USA Today, the BBC and the cable channels History, Discovery and National Geographic. In his 15 years overseeing Greek and Roman excavations at the ancient site of Troy, he and his colleagues discovered 2,500-year-old gold jewelry, sculptures of Roman emperors and Bronze Age limestone walls.

Rose, along with UC faculty members Jack Davis and Holt Park, even presented a mini-symposium on campus to debunk some myths:

  • No archaeological evidence points to a war lasting 10 years, although Troy was destroyed and rebuilt many times.
  • The war was not over a woman, but probably over Troy's control of lucrative land and sea-trading routes.
  • The Greeks did not have the level of sea power needed to launch 1,000 ships.
  • Even the ancient Greeks doubted their nation had ever used a giant wooden horse to trick the Trojans. 

A Test on Troy: What's Real vs. What's Reel

pot of gold

Illustration/Angela Klocke

Researchers test fat-free smoking cure

Your resolution to quit smoking can quickly wane if you notice your waistline expanding as the cigarettes decrease. One answer may be a new drug, rimonabant, tested by UC researchers as a way to fight both the smoking habit and weight gain.

Robert Anthenelli, associate professor of psychiatry and a principal investigator in one of the country's largest smoking cessation trials, calls the drug "a potentially promising new treatment option."

In a different set of clinical trials, rimonabant resulted in significant weight loss, reduced abdominal fat, increased HDL (good) cholesterol, lower triglycerides and significant improvement in glucose and insulin levels, all factors affecting cardiovascular health. "Since these two studies show that rimonabant treats obesity and related metabolic disorders in overweight/obese patients, we may have a very promising new approach for managing two major and preventable risk factors for cardiovascular disease with one and the same drug," Anthenelli concludes.

If additional studies are positive, the developer will seek U.S. approval to market the drug under the name Acomplia.

Read more about the rimonabant study

Carolyn Kahl (MM '03) made her Seattle Opera mainstage debut as "the Composer" in February 2004.

Carolyn Kahl (MM '03) made her Seattle Opera mainstage debut as "the Composer" in February 2004.

CCM grad becomes instant opera star

Just like in the movies. Stepping into a leading role at the last minute, Carolyn Kahl (MM '03) made her Seattle Opera mainstage debut earlier this year singing the Composer role in Richard Strauss's "Ariadne auf Naxos." UC opera chair Sandra Bernhard was directing in Seattle and witnessed the understudy's ability to save the day, when the Austrian mezzo became ill.

"It was a truly miraculous moment," Bernhard says. "Carrie was so spectacular in the run-through that (opera director) Speight decided she would sing it. No one would have expected that this young artist, who had only (observed) rehearsals and never actually sang or even walked the staging would be able to step in without a single rehearsal — and do it like she had been rehearsing for weeks."

Seattle Times review

More pictures from the performance

UC Diabetes Center opens to educate, treat

Greater Cincinnati is growing older and fatter, which means the number of cases of adult-onset diabetes is likely to double in the next 16 years. Who will help educate and treat a total of 300,000 patients? A new UC Diabetes Center is starting now.

Barbara Ramlo-Halsted, a diabetologist and assistant medical professor, is director of the facility that opened in June in the Jewish Hospital Professional Building. The Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati has contributed funding.

The region has insufficient physicians providing diabetes care to meet the needs of the population, Ramlo-Halsted says. She hopes the new center will "ease the burden placed on many primary care physicians, while elevating the level of diabetes care."

Diabetes nurse educators will provide patient education and diagnostic and therapeutic services, such as computer graphing of blood-sugar levels, weight and other health indicators. Diabetes research, physician education and community out-reach are among other goals.

Gary Heiman named new trustee

Gary Heiman, president and CEO of Standard Textile Co., is the UC Board of Trustees' newest member, appointed in March by Ohio Gov. Bob Taft, JD '76, HonDoc '00, to replace Joan Herschede.

Standard Textile is a global leader in the development and manufacture of health-care, hospitality and industrial textiles. The Kim and Gary Heiman Family Foundation supports various community needs including Inner City Youth Opportunities and the Children's Hospital Medical Center.

illustration/Angela Klocke

Illustration/Angela Klocke

Cicada diet warning: Just one, please

OK, but only one …

If you needed a scientific reason not to gulp down cicadas, UC found one.

Most humans on campus this spring -- and across much of the eastern United States -- were kept busy trying to brush away swarms of noisy Brood X critters that swooped through the air to land on anything that moved, part of their 17-year cyclical emergence. What's more, their high-pitched love chirp -- not unlike the soundtrack in early sci-fi movies -- gave many people a case of the creeps.

It may sound like a joke, but there were other folks who praised the ugly bugs, claiming cicadas were tasty and a good source of protein. They traded recipes, held "tastings" and happily sang the "Snappy Cicada Pizza" song.

As the buzz circulated about stomach aches and itchy rashes, a pair of UC researchers found evidence that the insects could contain dangerous levels of mercury. Tim Keener of civil and environmental engineering and Soon-Jai Khang of chemical and materials engineering urged snackers to limit their diet to "a small number" of the red-eyed crawlers.

They didn't have to tell us twice.

DAAP students make music with appliances

photo/Andrew Higley

Photo/Andrew Higley

Inventive DAAP students employed dramatic lighting to enhance a rhythmic routine in which a refrigerator became the central point of percussion.

The group was one of 18 to perform during the annual concert of first-year architecture and interior design students from the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning. The challenge was to play original compositions using instruments they fashioned from salvaged refrigerators, stoves and dishwashers. "Interior design and architecture are very similar to music," says James Postell, associate professor of interior design. "All require compositions that grow from individual, component parts. We can learn design from music … and appliances, too."

Timeless Tibetan Truths: Tibetan monks create mandala

photo/Lisa Ventre

Photo/Lisa Ventre

Grains of sand falling from the fingers of a Tibetan monk measure timeless truths, rather than minutes and hours, as he creates a mandala or meditative painting of peace. Each color used has a symbolic meaning, such as yellow, the color of wisdom and intelligence. Lobsang Jinpa, working in Zimmer Hall earlier this year, was one of six monks from south India who assembled the mandala over three days while on a tour of the United States

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