Chatham University

Chatham News

Symposium to examine Rachel Carson’s legacy 50 years after “Silent Spring”

Heinz Award Recipient Louis J. Guillette, Jr. to provide keynote address on environmental contaminants and health

Fifty years ago, scientist and author Rachel Carson sparked the modern environmental movement by bringing to light the dangers posed by the then widely utilized pesticide DDT. Her book, “Silent Spring,” documented the tragic, unintentional environmental repercussions of the use of man-made chemicals, launched a worldwide campaign to reduce the use of dangerous chemicals in the environment, and continues to inspire the next generation of environmental defenders.

In recognition of the tremendous impact of Carson’s seminal work, more than 25 environmental leaders from around the globe will gather in Pittsburgh on May 11 and 12 to give their perspectives on “Silent Spring,” to examine the role it has played in raising environmental awareness over the past 50 years, and to look toward the future of the environmental conservation movement.

The Perspectives on Silent Spring at 50 Symposium, presented by the National Aviary and the Rachel Carson Institute at Chatham University, will include presentations and panel discussions on the long-lasting impact of Carson’s work, highlighted with a keynote address by 2011 Heinz Award recipient Louis J. Guillette, Jr.  A reproductive biologist and professor at the University of Florida, Guillette has received international acclaim for research on the impacts of toxic chemicals on the reproductive systems of alligators and other wildlife.

“Rachel Carson left a legacy of writing and an environmental ethic drawn from her concern about the persistent chemicals people introduce into the environment,” said Patricia DeMarco, director of the Rachel Carson Institute at Chatham University. “We will examine the predictions Rachel Carson made in her writing, evaluate how the current environmental conditions reflect her concerns, and address the challenges and hopes we face in the twenty-first century.”

The Perspectives on Silent Spring at 50 Symposium will open at 1 p.m. on Friday, May 11, at the National Aviary, with a special presentation of Wings!, the Aviary’s dramatic multimedia, interactive, live bird performance, followed by a special airing of Rachel Carson’s speech to the National Women’s Press Club and a panel discussion, “Voices of the Earth,” with environmental writers Scott Weidensaul, Sherri Woodley, John Juriga, and Diane Graves.  The first day of the symposium will end with a keynote address by Carson’s biographer, Linda Lear, Ph.D., entitled “That Book Is For The Birds.”

The symposium will continue on Saturday at 9 a.m. at the Eddy Theatre at Chatham University’s Shadyside campus beginning with Guillette’s keynote address, and followed by four panel discussions on the lessons, challenges, images and messages, and future voices that the book “Silent Spring” has informed or inspired.

More information and tickets are available at www.Chatham.edu/silentspring50. Tickets are $50 for Friday, May 11, $75 for Saturday, May 12, or $100 for both days. Space is limited to 150.

About the Rachel Carson Institute at Chatham University
The Rachel Carson Institute at Chatham University was established in 1989 top honor the legacy of Chatham University’s famous alumna, Rachel Carson. The Rachel Carson Institute within the School of Sustainability and the Environment is an internationally focused center for outreach, education, and research, around the principles of systems thinking and multidisciplinary investigation that marked Rachel Carson’s work. For more information about the Rachel Carson Institute at Chatham University, visit www.chatham.edu/rachelcarson.

About Chatham University
Chatham University prepares students from around the world to help develop solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges. Consistently ranked among the top master’s level institutions in the Northeast by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review, Chatham University is also ranked in the top five percent of graduate-intensive institutions nationally and experienced the fastest-growing enrollment in the Pittsburgh region over the past decade. Founded in 1869, Chatham University includes the Shadyside Campus, with the historic 39-acre Woodland Road arboretum and Chatham Eastside facility; and the 388-acre Eden Hall Campus north of Pittsburgh. For more information about Chatham University, visit www.chatham.edu.

About the National Aviary
The National Aviary is America’s only independent indoor nonprofit zoo dedicated exclusively to birds. Located in West Park on Pittsburgh’s historic Northside, the National Aviary’s diverse collection comprises more than 600 birds representing more than 200 species from around the world, many of them threatened or endangered in the wild. The National Aviary works to inspire respect for nature through an appreciation of birds. For more information about the National Aviary, visit www.Aviary.org.

 ###

Chatham University presents art exhibition about ecological disaster “Reflections: Homage to Dunkard Creek”

Currently on view until May 25

Opening reception on May 10 to be held in conjunction with the Perspectives on Silent Spring at 50 symposium, Hosted by the Rachel Carson Institute at Chatham and the National Aviary

"Variagate Darter 2" by Ron Donoughe

Chatham University presents the art exhibition “Reflections: Homage to Dunkard Creek” now through May 25 at the Art and Design Center mezzanine gallery, located on its Shadyside Campus, Woodland Road. “Reflections,” which opened April 10, is a collaborative installation art project created by 90 regional artists to commemorate the lives of the many species that perished in Dunkard Creek in September 2009. All of Dunkard’s gilled inhabitants died when a fatal combination of mine wastes and low water, exacerbated by industry water withdrawals, set off the bloom of an alien toxic algae, suffocating an estimated 65,000 animals.

The opening reception, to be held from 4 to 8 p.m. on May 10, is held in conjunction with the Perspectives on Silent Spring at 50 symposium, hosted by the Rachel Carson Institute at Chatham and the National Aviary. The free and public exhibition will be on view Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through May 25.

Dunkard Creek, the site of the 2009 ecological disaster, is a 43-mile-long stream that flows through Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The creek empties into the Monongahela River, which was recently listed as one of the country’s 10 most endangered rivers. The river supplies drinking water to more than 850,000 people.

The exhibition celebrates the diversity of life in our freshwater streams while it raises questions about how our water and resources are currently managed. It invites the general public to consider the fallout that sometimes occurs when our society’s quest for energy damages our natural resources.  The traveling exhibit was organized by West Virginia artist Ann Payne, botanical art instructor at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, and is supported by The Mountain Institute: Appalachia Program. Many notable Pittsburgh artists’ works are included in the show.

For more information, contact Prajna Parasher, director of Chatham’s Film and Digital Technology program, at 412-365-1182 or parasher@chatham.edu, or Patricia DeMarco, director of the Rachel Carson Institute at Chatham, at 412-365-2702 or pDeMarco@chatham.edu.

About Chatham University
Chatham University prepares students from around the world to help develop solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges. Consistently ranked among the top master’s level institutions in the Northeast by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review, Chatham University is also ranked in the top five percent of graduate-intensive institutions nationally and experienced the fastest-growing enrollment in the Pittsburgh region over the past decade. Founded in 1869, Chatham University includes the Shadyside Campus, with the historic 39-acre Woodland Road arboretum and Chatham Eastside facility; and the 388-acre Eden Hall Campus north of Pittsburgh. For more information, call 800-837-1290 or visit www.chatham.edu.

  # # #

 

Princeton Review lists Chatham University among most environmentally responsible colleges in Guide to 322 Green Colleges

The annual publication is produced in partnership with the
U.S. Green Building Council

By: Amanda Leff Ritchie, Senior Public Relations Specialist
April 20, 2012

PITTSBURGH (April 20, 2012) … Chatham University is one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in the United States and Canada, according to the Guide to 322 Green Colleges, a collaboration between The Princeton Review and the U.S. Green Building Council. Released on Tuesday, April 17, the third annual edition of this free guide (downloadable at www.princetonreview.com/green-guide) profiles institutions of higher education that demonstrate notable commitments to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities, and career preparation. Chatham received a “Green Rating” score of 98 out of a possible 99.

This honor was announced the same week Chatham was recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as the 2011-2012 Individual Conference Champion for using more green power than any other school in the President’s Athletic Conference. In addition, Chatham’s green initiatives were recognized in 2011 with the “Green Power: Make It” award from the Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future.

The University is also a charter signatory of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, a high-visibility effort to address global climate disruption undertaken by a network of colleges and universities that have made institutional commitments to eliminate net greenhouse gas emissions from specified campus operations, and to promote the research and educational efforts of higher education to equip society to re-stabilize the earth’s climate.

“College-bound students are increasingly interested in sustainability issues,” said Robert Franek, senior vice president and publisher of The Princeton Review. “Among 7,445 college applicants who participated in our 2012 ‘College Hopes & Worries Survey,’ nearly 7 out of 10 (68 percent) told us that having information about a school’s commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend the school,” he added. “Together with USGBC, we are pleased to make this free resource available to all students seeking to attend colleges that practice, teach and support environmentally-responsible choices.  To that end, we highly recommend the terrific schools in this book.”

About Chatham’s Green Initiatives
Chatham has purchased renewable power since 2002, and now purchases 100 percent of its total electricity usage from a Green-E Certified mix of renewable energy that is primarily wind power. Two grants were recently awarded to Chatham, allowing the installation of solar thermal water heating that is designed to lessen dependence on fossil fuels, reduce the University’s carbon footprint, and insulate against fluctuating energy costs. The largest installation of its kind in Pennsylvania and the 8th largest solar water heating installation in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Utility Solar Water Heating Initiative project database, the project incorporates advanced microchannel technology from Solar Tomorrow, Inc.

A successful school–wide single–stream recycling program is complimented by a robust composting program. Reflecting Chatham’s commitment to community involvement in its food, food service provider Parkhurst Dining Services purchases 20 percent of its food from local sources through its FarmSource program and coordinates a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program for the campus. The dining hall provides vegan and vegetarian selections at all meals to accommodate the large population that prefers this low–carbon diet, as well as to reduce the campus footprint. In addition, eliminating the use of trays in 2009 has resulted in at least a 25 percent reduction of energy and encourages less food waste, and the switch to reusable take-out containers in 2011 has led to additional dramatic waste reduction.

In addition to maintaining a fleet of biodiesel shuttle busses to that transport students between its Shadyside and Eastside Campuses and to nearby local universities, Chatham is one of the first Pennsylvania employers to offer a $20 a month tax credit to workers who bike for a “substantial portion” of their commute. The Bicycle Commuter Act tax credit was part of 2008’s Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, and Chatham was featured in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for its participation. Chatham was also recently became the first university in Pennsylvania to be recognized by the League of American Bicyclists as a Bike Friendly University, receiving the bronze-level designation. Chatham was previously awarded a Bicycle Friendly Business designation by the league.

About Chatham’s new School of Sustainability and the Environment
Chatham’s new Eden Hall Campus will be home to the School of Sustainability and the Environment (SSE), founded in 2009. Located on a 388-acre site north of the University’s historic Shadyside Campus, the new campus will feature innovative climate positive buildings and landscape design. When the Eden Hall Foundation presented the gift of Eden Hall Farm to Chatham in 2008, University leaders seized the rare opportunity to build an entire campus from the ground up – the first of the 21st century.

This new campus will serve as a living laboratory that will serve more than 1,000 students in a climate and water resources neutral, zero net energy integrated facility. Each building on campus will be connected through energy and water loops that will allow excess energy from one building to heat another, or rainwater harvested from one building to supply another with potable water. This integrated design exemplifies the school’s systems-based approach to solving environmental concerns, and provides a unique learning opportunity.  Students will take what they learned and apply it on a global scale through study-abroad opportunities and partnerships with international universities.

Academic programs at the SSE help students acquire the knowledge and practical skills necessary to manage the complex challenges posed by sustainability. Chatham’s Master of Sustainability is a two-year, full-time cohort program that focuses on identifying and finding solutions to real-world sustainability challenges and developing an academically sound, yet professionally oriented understanding of how to simultaneously improve economic development, social justice, and the biophysical environment. The Certificate in Sustainable Management (CSM) is an online program designed with professionals in mind that can be completed in as little as one year. The Master of Arts in Food Studies (MAFS) attracts students from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds seeking experience and training in intellectual and practical skills related to all stages of the food system.

How Schools Were Chosen for the Book
The Princeton Review chose the 322 schools based on a survey it conducted in 2011 of hundreds of colleges across the U.S. and in Canada to tally its annual “Green Rating” scores (scaled from 60 to 99) of colleges for its school profiles in its college guidebooks and website. The survey asks administrators more than 50 questions about their institution’s sustainability-related policies, practices and programs.  The company tallied Green Ratings for 768 institutions in summer 2011. The 322 schools in this guide received scores of 83 or above in that assessment. (Note: The Princeton Review does not rank the schools in this guide hierarchically (1 to 322) according to their Green Rating scores, nor does it include those scores in this book’s school profiles.) Information about The Princeton Review’s Green Rating methodology and its “Green Honor Roll” list saluting schools that received Green Ratings of 99 is available online. 

About The Princeton Review
The Princeton Review (www.princetonreview.com) has been a pioneer and leader in helping students achieve their higher education goals for 30 years through college and graduate school test preparation, private tutoring, and more than 150 print and digital publications. The team includes more than 5,000 teachers and tutors in the United States and Canada, and a network of international franchisees. The Princeton Review provides students and their parents with the resources to research, apply to, prepare for, and learn how to pay for higher education. The company also partners with schools and guidance counselors worldwide to assist in college readiness, test preparation, and career planning services, helping more students pursue postsecondary education. 

About the U.S. Green Building Council
The U.S. Green Building Council is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. USGBC works toward its mission of market transformation through its LEED green building certification program, robust educational offerings, a nationwide network of chapters and affiliates, the annual Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, and advocacy in support of public policy that encourages and enables green buildings and communities. For more information, visit usgbc.org and connect on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. 

About the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council
The Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is how USGBC is making sure every student has the opportunity to attend a green school within this generation. From the kindergartner entering the classroom to the Ph.D. student performing research in a lab, the center provides the resources and support to elevate dialogue, accelerate policy and institute innovation toward green schools and campuses. Thanks in part to generous support from founding sponsor United Technologies Corporation, the center works directly with staff, teachers, faculty, students, administrators, elected officials, and communities to drive the transformation of all schools into sustainable places to live and learn, work, and play. For more information, please visit www.centerforgreenschools.org.

About Chatham University
Chatham University prepares students from around the world to help develop solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges. Consistently ranked among the top master’s level institutions in the Northeast by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review, Chatham University is also ranked in the top five percent of graduate-intensive institutions nationally and experienced the fastest-growing enrollment in the Pittsburgh region over the past decade. Founded in 1869, Chatham University includes the Shadyside Campus, with the historic 39-acre Woodland Road arboretum and Chatham Eastside facility; and the 388-acre Eden Hall Campus north of Pittsburgh. For more information, call 800-837-1290 or visit www.chatham.edu.


###

Chatham University Recognized by EPA as TOP green power purchaser in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference in 2011-2012

By: Amanda Leff Ritchie, Senior Public Relations Specialist at Chatham, and Mollie Lemon, Green Power Partnership Communications Director
April 18, 2012

PITTSBURGH (April 18, 2012)… Chatham University announced today that it was recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as the 2011-2012 Individual Conference Champion for using more green power than any other school in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference.

Since April 2006, EPA’s Green Power Partnership has tracked and recognized the collegiate athletic conferences with the highest combined green power purchases in the nation. The Individual Conference Champion Award recognizes the school that has made the largest individual purchase of green power within a qualifying conference.

Chatham University beat its conference rivals by using 12 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power, representing 100 percent of the school’s annual electricity usage. Chatham University purchases renewable energy certificates from Renewable Choice Energy, helping to reduce the environmental impacts associated with the campus’ electricity use.

According to the U.S. EPA, Chatham University’s green power use of 12 million kWh is equivalent to avoiding the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the electricity use of more than 1,000 average American homes annually, or the CO2 emissions of nearly 2,000 passenger vehicles per year.

“EPA applauds Chatham University as the Presidents’ Athletic Conference Champion in this year’s College and University Green Power Challenge,” said Blaine Collison, director of EPA’s Green Power Partnership. “By purchasing 100 percent renewable electricity, Chatham is reducing harmful carbon dioxide emissions and showing that small schools can make a big difference for the environment.”

 Thirty collegiate conferences and 73 schools competed in the 2011-2012 challenge, collectively purchasing more than 1.8 billion kWh of green power. EPA will extend the College & University Green Power Challenge for a seventh year, to conclude in spring of 2013. EPA’s Green Power Challenge is open to all U.S. colleges, universities, and conferences. In order to qualify, a collegiate athletic conference must include at least one school that qualifies as a Green Power Partner, and the conference must collectively purchase at least 10 million kWh of green power. For more information, visit: www.epa.gov/greenpower/initiatives/cu_challenge.htm.

 Green power is electricity that is generated from environmentally preferable renewable resources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, biogas, biomass, and low-impact hydro.  Purchases of green power help accelerate the development of new renewable energy capacity nationwide and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector.

“We deeply appreciate the EPA recognizing Chatham for our commitment to the environment,” says Mary Whitney, sustainability coordinator at Chatham. “We are honored to receive this title in recognition of our efforts of reducing carbon emissions to zero by the year 2025.”

Chatham has purchased renewable power since 2002, and now purchases 100 percent of its total electricity usage from a Green-E Certified mix of renewable energy that is primarily wind power. Two grants were recently awarded to Chatham, allowing the installation of solar thermal water heating that is designed to lessen dependence on fossil fuels, reduce the University’s carbon footprint, and insulate against fluctuating energy costs.

The largest installation of its kind in Pennsylvania and the 8th largest solar water heating installation in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Utility Solar Water Heating Initiative project database, the project incorporates advanced microchannel technology from Solar Tomorrow, Inc. Chatham’s green initiatives were recognized in 2011 by the Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future.

In addition to a successful school–wide single–stream recycling program, Chatham boasts a composting program and sends waste fat to a regional biodiesel plant. Reflecting Chatham’s commitment to community involvement in its food, food service provider Parkhurst Dining Services purchases 20 percent of its food from local sources through its FarmSource program and coordinates a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program for the campus. The dining hall provides vegan and vegetarian selections at all meals to accommodate the large population that prefers this low–carbon diet, as well as to reduce the campus footprint. In addition, eliminating the use of trays in 2009 has resulted in at least a 25 percent reduction of energy and encourages less food waste, and the switch to reusable take-out containers in 2011 has led to additional dramatic waste reduction.

Chatham maintains a fleet of biodiesel shuttle busses, which transport students between its Shadyside and Eastside Campuses, as well as to nearby local universities.

Chatham is one of the first Pennsylvania employers to offer a $20 a month tax credit to workers who bike for a “substantial portion” of their commute. The Bicycle Commuter Act tax credit was part of 2008’s Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, and Chatham was featured in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for its participation. Chatham was also recently became the first university in Pennsylvania to be recognized by the League of American Bicyclists as a Bike Friendly University, receiving the bronze-level designation. Chatham was previously awarded a Bicycle Friendly Business designation by the league.

About Chatham University
Chatham University prepares students from around the world to help develop solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges. Consistently ranked among the top master’s level institutions in the Northeast by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review, Chatham University is also ranked in the top five percent of graduate-intensive institutions nationally and experienced the fastest-growing enrollment in the Pittsburgh region over the past decade. Founded in 1869, Chatham University includes the Shadyside Campus, with the historic 39-acre Woodland Road arboretum and Chatham Eastside facility; and the 388-acre Eden Hall Campus north of Pittsburgh. For more information, call 800-837-1290 or visit www.chatham.edu.

About EPA’s Green Power Partnership
The Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program that encourages organizations to buy green power as a way to reduce the environmental impacts associated with electricity use. The Partnership currently has more than 1,300 Partner organizations voluntarily purchasing billions of kilowatt-hours of green power annually. Partners include a wide variety of leading organizations such as Fortune 500® companies, small and medium sized businesses, local, state, and federal governments, and colleges and universities. For additional information, please visit http://www.epa.gov/greenpower.

For more information about EPA’s College and University Green Power Challenge, visit the Challenge website at http://www.epa.gov/greenpower/initiatives/cu_challenge.htm.

About the President’s Athletic Conference
Founded in 1955, the Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC) promotes intercollegiate athletics and the pursuit of academic excellence. Consisting of 12 select private institutions in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio, the PAC is built on the principle that an athletic program is a part of college life, but not an entity in itself. The PAC annually crowns champions in 19 sports (10 men, nine women).

# # #

 

Christine Ward, founder of The Darfur Project, to talk about how women, girls, and entrepreneurship can change the world

By: Amanda Leff Ritchie, Senior Public Relations Specialist
April 18, 2012

PITTSBURGH (April 18, 2012) … The Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Chatham University (CWE) will host the founder of the Darfur Project Christine Ward as part of its Women Business Leaders Breakfast Series on Friday, May 11, from 7:30 to 9 a.m. in the James Laughlin Music Center on the University’s Shadyside Campus. Ward is a renowned social entrepreneur, known for being ambitious and persistent, tacking major social issues, and offering new ideas for wide-scale change.

Ward is the founder and CEO of Rockflower, an organization which seeks to connect large funders in developed nations with organizations investing in women and girls in underdeveloped nations to address some of the world’s economic and social challenges. In a presentation titled “Social Entrepreneurs: How women and girls can solve economic and social challenges,” Ward will discuss her path to creating Rockflower, which focuses on maternal and reproductive health, safety and security, education, economic empowerment, and access to water and food.

While at the 2007 Clinton Global Initiative (as the founder and CEO of The Darfur Project, which has provided $17 million in medical relief to the area to date), Ward became interested in the idea of long-term investment funds to allow capital to support the improvements in livelihoods. Subsequently, she spent three years consulting experts in the fields of social investment, disaster relief, government, education, and health as she discovered how she could help women and girls achieve lives of fulfillment and prosperity.

The $25 admission fee includes a continental breakfast and networking session, which precede the presentation. A question and answer session will follow Ward’s presentation. For more information and to register, visit www.chatham.edu/cwe or call 412-365-1253.

About the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship
The mission of the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship (CWE) at Chatham University is to educate, create economic opportunities, and foster entrepreneurial thinking for women entrepreneurs, women in business, and students. The CWE provides opportunities for women entrepreneurs in both new development and growth stages of their businesses to start, develop and significantly grow their companies by utilizing Chatham resources, programs, faculty expertise, and student assistance. CWE also provides programming targeted to local and regional women in business designed to teach women in business how to think and act entrepreneurially by focusing on innovation and creativity within the context of an existing organizational environment. Current and initial funding for CWE provided by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation. Initial funding for CWE was provided by the Lois Tack Thompson Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation. For more information about programs offered by CWE, call 412-365-1253 or visit www.chatham.edu/cwe

About Chatham University
Chatham University prepares students from around the world to help develop solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges. Consistently ranked among the top master’s level institutions in the Northeast by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review, Chatham University is also ranked in the top five percent of graduate-intensive institutions nationally and experienced the fastest-growing enrollment in the Pittsburgh region over the past decade. Founded in 1869, Chatham University includes the Shadyside Campus, with the historic 39-acre Woodland Road arboretum and Chatham Eastside facility; and the 388-acre Eden Hall Campus north of Pittsburgh. For more information call 800-837-1290 or visit www.chatham.edu.

# # #

 

PEN Prison Writing Program Award Goes to Eric Boyd, graduate of Chatham University’s Words Without Walls Jail Program

By: Amanda Leff Ritchie, Senior Public Relations Specialist
April 16, 2012

PITTSBURGH (April 16, 2012) … Eric Boyd, a graduate of the Words Without Walls program offered to prisoners at the Allegheny County Jail through Chatham University’s MFA in Creative Writing program, was recently named a winner of the PEN Prison Writing contest. His submission, which received second place in the fiction category, is titled EXAMINATION and tells the story of Boyd’s alter ego acquiring eyeglasses from the clinic of a county jail. The award comes on the heels of Eric’s recent release of his newest short stories chapbook WHISKEY SOUR, which has already sold out its first printing. Boyd is the second Words Without Walls graduate to be honored with a PEN Prison Writing Award.

“I’m very proud to have received this prize from PEN; I feel that it has vindicated my time at the jail and validated me as a person,” says Boyd. “I am very grateful.”

No longer incarcerated, Boyd is now the literary editor for Pork & Mead magazine, a quarterly arts, music, and culture magazine based in New York City. He is also an editor for the Newer York literary magazine.

Chatham will host a reading by Boyd at the Words Without Walls Reading and Reception, held from 7:30 to 9 p.m. on August 5. In addition, he will return to the Allegheny County Jail to give a reading later this year.

According to the PEN American Center’s website, “the PEN Prison Writing Program believes in the restorative and rehabilitative power of writing, by providing hundreds of inmates across the country with skilled writing teachers and audiences for their work. The program seeks to provide a place for inmates to express themselves freely with paper and pen and to encourage the use of the written word as a legitimate form of power. The program sponsors an annual writing contest, publishes a free handbook for prisoners, provides one-on-one mentoring to inmates whose writing shows merit or promise, conducts workshops for former inmates, and seeks to get inmates’ work to the public through literary publications and readings.”

About Words Without Walls
The Words Without Walls program fosters and supports creative expression and personal growth by exposing men and women at the jail to literature, award-winning visiting authors, and the opportunity to publish their work. Words Without Walls grew from a residency program started by artist Sandra Gould Ford. Because of the program’s reach, Chatham University committed to continuing the program¹s creative writing classes at Allegheny County Jail in June 2010. Because of its innovative approach to learning and teaching, Words Without Walls has received support from the A. W. Mellon Education and Charitable Trust Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation and the Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh Fund, a partnership of The Heinz Endowments and The Pittsburgh Foundation.

About PEN American Center
PEN American Center is the U.S. branch of the world’s oldest international literary and human rights organization. International PEN was founded in 1921 in direct response to the ethnic and national divisions that contributed to the First World War. PEN American Center was founded in 1922 and is the largest of the 144 PEN centers in 101 countries that together compose International PEN.

Throughout its 85-year history, PEN American Center has remained a writer-centered organization in which members play a leading role. PEN presidents, such as Arthur Miller, Norman Mailer, Susan Sontag, and Salman Rushdie have, and continue to place themselves at the forefront of the struggle to oppose censorship and defend writers.

About Chatham University
Chatham University prepares students from around the world to help develop solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges. Consistently ranked among the top master’s level institutions in the Northeast by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review, Chatham University is also ranked in the top five percent of graduate-intensive institutions nationally and experienced the fastest-growing enrollment in the Pittsburgh region over the past decade. Founded in 1869, Chatham University includes the Shadyside Campus, with the historic 39-acre Woodland Road arboretum and Chatham Eastside facility; and the 388-acre Eden Hall Campus north of Pittsburgh. For more information, call 800-837-1290 or visit www.chatham.edu.

###