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May 23, 2008

Greater New Orleans Chapter Formed by Four-Chapter Merger

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC - The Greater New Orleans Chapter of Sigma Xi received its charter May 13 at a gala celebrating the merger of four chapters from the New Orleans area.

This was a first-of-a-kind merger for Sigma Xi, and on hand to present the new charter were Jerry Baker, Sigma Xi's new executive director; Ann H. Williams, Sigma Xi president-elect; and John Knesel, Sigma Xi southeastern regional director. Administrators from the merging chapters were also in attendance.

Associate Vice Chancellor Scott Whittenburg represented the University of New Orleans (UNO) Chapter, while Elaine Champagne stood in for Ed Cleveland, acting director of the Southern Regional Research Center, to represent the former New Orleans Chapter.

James Cairo, dean of the School of Allied Health Professions, represented another former chapter at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, and Nicholas Altiero, dean of the Tulane University School of Science and Engineering, represented the Tulane Chapter.

John Patrick Jordan, retired director of the Southern Regional Research Center, also was on hand. Local Sigma Xi members in attendance enjoyed the music of the University of New Orleans Jazz Ensemble, hot hors d'oeuvres and a buffet dinner of classic New Orleans cuisine.

Michael Stevenson, associate dean of the UNO College of Sciences and a former chapter president, served as master of ceremonies. John Knesel spoke about the history of Sigma Xi, while Society President-Elect Williams talked about the role of Sigma Xi today.

Jerry Baker (far right) presented the new chapter charter to officers Patricia Robbert, Lehman Ellis and Bruce Ingber. The charter was then signed by all of the founding members.

Founded in 1886, Sigma Xi is the international honor society for research scientists and engineers, with more than 500 chapters in North America and around the world. Membership is by invitation. Over the years, more than 200 Sigma Xi members have received the Nobel Prize. In addition to publishing American Scientist, the non-profit Society awards hundreds of grants annually to student researchers and also sponsors a variety of programs that support science and engineering.


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