Donation benefits UNO scholarship program

First-generation college students hoping to attend the University of New Orleans may get financial aid thanks to a new scholarship donated by alumni and the Louisiana Board of Regents.

UNO alumni Thomas and Constance Kitchen have donated $60,000 to help endow a scholarship at the school. Their gift received a $40,000 match from the Board of Regents to total $100,000 in funds for the Kitchen Family First Generation Scholarship.

Every year, the scholarship is expected to provide $4,000 to first-generation undergraduate students. The gift also comes with a paid on-campus job and 10 hours of support per week from academic advisers.

“We have a strong commitment to education and especially to institutions like UNO, where we were students in the 1960s,” said Thomas Kitchen, the former president and CEO of Stewart Enterprises. “The university gave us a great education that was the affordable option for our families. Since we were the first to attend and graduate from college, we wanted to help others have the same experience that we did.”

To qualify, recipients must be Louisiana residents who have been awarded a federal Pell Grant.

Loyola offers new film, pop music degrees

Loyola University is launching two new film and pop music degrees targeted at “today’s students,” school officials said.

The bachelor’s degree in digital filmmaking, the only such program of its kind in the region, will prepare young filmmakers for careers in the business. It was launched in response to a demand for training as film production booms in Louisiana, sometimes dubbed “Hollywood South.”

The bachelor’s degree in popular and commercial music draws on the city’s deep musical roots, according to John Snyder, chairman of the Music Industry Studies Department. “These new degree programs take advantage of New Orleans’ strengths. It’s a city of arts and culture. It’s an environment of creativity and one of the top filmmaking places in the country,” he said.

The digital filmmaking program will cover digital filmmaking, screenwriting, acting and directing for the screen, along with practical business studies. The new music degree program will integrate performance with the music business and technology, drawing heavily on entrepreneurial skills that artists today need.

The programs will launch in August .

Tulane co-hosts ‘clean energy grid summit’

Tulane University will co-host an all-day “clean energy grid summit” Thursday at which experts will discuss how to modernize the region’s transmission grid for a more sustainable energy future.

The Tulane Gulf Coast Electricity Transmission Summit is expected to draw environmental advocates, utility executives, regulators and policymakers. It will feature panel discussions on adapting the grid for wind and solar power sources, as well as discussions about new federal air quality standards.

It also will cover plans for state utilities to join a larger, regional power grid that stretches from the Gulf Coast to Canada.

“Louisiana is adding almost $70 billion in new industrial capacity, which will place new demands on our power system,” says Eric Smith, associate director of the Tulane Energy Institute. “Our state has an enviable ability to generate large quantities of power from low-carbon sources, but participation in MISO, the new regional transmission system, means some of that power will go to other states that are historically more dependent on coal. That means we’ll have to invest more in transmission so that Gulf Coast power can support local economic growth and be shared with our neighbors.”

Curt Hebert, a former chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, will be a keynote speaker.

The event is free and open to the public. It will be held from 8:15 a.m. to 5 p.m. in room 110 of Weinmann Hall at 6329 Freret St.

Registration is available online at www.

Tulane awarded $3.7 million health grants

An associate professor of biomedical engineering at Tulane University has been awarded $3.7 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health to study illnesses and diseases like osteoporosis and schizophrenia.

The first grant, from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, will be given over four years. The second is from the National Institute of Mental Health and covers five years.

Professor Yu-Ping Wang will use the first grant, worth $1.6 million, to develop statistical approaches to diagnosing and preventing osteoporosis. The second grant, worth $2.1 million, will be used to develop better methods of predicting mental disease, to allow for improved diagnosis of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Wang said the awards reflect collaboration among the School of Science and Engineering, the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and the School of Medicine. “Because of that, we are able to immerse ourselves into a medical environment and marry science and engineering approaches with biomedical challenges,” he said.