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Western Carolina University Joins ORAU Consortium

April 22, 2005

OAK RIDGE, Tenn.—Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) recently welcomed Western Carolina University as an associate member of its consortium at the 60th annual meeting of the ORAU Council of Sponsoring Institutions held recently in Washington, D.C.

Located in Cullowhee, N.C., Western Carolina University was founded in 1889 and is one of only five National Merit sponsoring institutions in the state. The campus, which is home to more than 6,000 undergraduates and 2,000 graduate students, is currently undergoing a $150 million renovation.

“Western Carolina University welcomes the opportunity to join Oak Ridge Associated Universities. Our faculty and staff are looking forward to collaborating with the eminent researchers and scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and with colleagues at member institutions,” University Chancellor John W. Bardo said. “At Western, we are deeply committed to the process of engaging the university’s resources to help solve economic and other problems our region and state are facing. The partnerships made possible though ORAU will enhance our ability to find solutions to those economic and social hardships.”

Tom McClure, director of regional affairs at Western, will be the university's official representative to ORAU. "Students and faculty alike will benefit from our membership through access to a multitude of opportunities for study and research, such as international scientific symposiums, or graduate student and faculty fellowships that are sponsored by ORAU. Western looks forward to forging collaborative partnerships with our country's national laboratories and to pursuing major science initiatives in technology and the biological sciences," McClure said.

With a $420,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy through Oak Ridge National Laboratory, faculty and students from Western and Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College are working on developing a new type of energy-efficient water heater. The project recently attracted the attention of President George W. Bush, who called the effort an example of the "creative technologies" the nation must utilize to decrease its dependence on foreign energy sources.

At their meeting, the council also elected the University of Cincinnati as a sponsoring institution of the consortium. With these additions, ORAU now has 91 member institutions and 11 associate members, which are found in 27 states as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and London. Consortium members take part in ORAU-sponsored or administered scientific research programs. Faculty and students at member institutions also benefit from opportunities for travel grants, internships and laboratory research at federal facilities.

ORAU provides innovative scientific and technical solutions to advance national priorities in science, education, security and health. Through specialized teams of experts, unique laboratory capabilities and access to a consortium of more than 100 major Ph.D.-granting institutions, ORAU works with federal, state, local and commercial customers to advance national priorities and serve the public interest. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and federal contractor, ORAU manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

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