Indiana University Kokomo

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KOKOMO, Ind. — Yusuf Nur demonstrates what his Indiana University Kokomo students can do with a business degree, using his expertise to rebuild his homeland.

Yusuf NurYusuf Nur

Nur, assistant professor of international business, travels home to Somalia during his summer and winter breaks to teach business management principles to its leaders. Recently, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud invited him to lead a session on resource sharing at a five-day conference about issues that country faces as it rebuilds from years of civil war.

Nur said in the past, this kind of conference would have been held outside of Somalia, and likely sponsored by a non-government agency, so just being able to host it was a big step forward.

"This is the first time the Somali government has had the initiative and the money to put something like this together in Mogadishu," he said. "This is something most countries take for granted, but it is a sign of progress for Somalia."

At IU Kokomo, Nur said when many of his students hear about Somalia, they think only of pirates. He educates them to read further, to see what else is happening.

"There has been huge progress since 2006," he said. "There are a lot of positive things happening."

Erv Boschmann, interim dean of the School of Business, said Nur shares his insights and research on international business, especially about Somalia, with his fellow faculty and with students.

"The students benefit enormously from his experience, especially when he talks about international business," Boschmann said. "I am amazed by his knowledge. Not only is he widely read, but he has accumulated a good dose of wisdom."

Nur left Somalia, which is in the Horn of Africa, 28 years ago, to earn a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) degree, using a World Bank scholarship. He then earned a Ph.D. from IU. Civil war broke out shortly after he left, and it was more than 20 years before he could safely return home.

The first trip back was shocking.

"Civil war destroyed the country," he said. "When I left, it was so peaceful. Mogadishu was a beautiful coastal town. We used to play soccer on the beach. It's horrible what happened to the country. I convinced myself I could make a difference with the knowledge I gained in the United States."

He said it is critical for people like himself, who were educated outside Somalia, to come back and help their homeland recover from the war.

"The civil war caused a huge brain drain," Nur said. "Anyone with experience and education left the country. They don't have the education to do anything. Their business leaders don't have the theoretical background we have here."

During his visits each year, Nur consults with businesses, educating executives on how to run a business strategically — which is also what he teaches at IU Kokomo. He has also consulted with the United Nations on developing policy for the country, and sometimes teaches classes at a college founded by the president.

His brother, Mohamoud Ahmed Nur, also was educated outside of Somalia, and is now mayor of Mogadishu, the capitol.

Nur said despite everything that has happened in his country since he left it, he still feels at home there.

"I lived in Somalia for 20 years, and I've lived in the United States 28 years, but when I get there, I feel at peace," he said. "Even though the country was destroyed, I feel tranquil there."

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — The best place to see the moon for the upcoming International Observe the Moon Night is at the Indiana University Kokomo Observatory.

Observatory open house for the "ring of fire"ObservatoryThe Observatory will be open for the event from 8 to 10 p.m., Saturday, October 12. Patrick Motl, assistant professor of physics, will present current thoughts about how the moon formed. In addition, the Observatory will host its regular monthly open house on Sunday, October 13, from 8 to 10 p.m.

"The date of this worldwide event was selected to have a good view of the line separating sunlight and shadow on the moon's face," Motl said. "This gives a great opportunity to see the three dimensional structure of craters and mountains through a telescope."

International Observe the Moon Night is organized by a team of scientists, educators, and moon enthusiasts representing government, non-profit organizations, and businesses around the world. The goal is to give people an opportunity to take notice of the moon's beauty, and to instill a sense of wonderment and curiosity about the moon. IU Kokomo's Observatory is one of hundreds worldwide registered to host events. In 2012, nearly 600 sites participated.

At Sunday's open house, Motl will open the event with a presentation on pulsars, which are rapidly rotating neutron stars.

Stargazers will be able to see the planet Venus and a waxing gibbous moon, along with highlights from the Summer Triangle, which is overhead at sunset.

The Observatory's telescopes are a six-inch Takahashi refracting telescope and a 16-inch Meade reflecting telescope mounted together. The Takahashi provides exceptionally sharp images of planets, while the Meade allows viewers to see fainter objects in the sky, due to its larger light collecting area.

The open house is free and open to the public in the Observatory, 105 E. Rebecca Lane. Free parking is available on campus.

For more information about International Observe the Moon Night, go to observethemoonnight.org.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — Kokomo's Temple B'Nai Israel inspires Indiana University Kokomo students, with its donation of artwork by Kokomo native Misch Kohn.

Art DonationIU Kokomo Interim Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke, center, accepts a donation of a Misch Kohn painting from Frank Stein and Karen Mervis, from Kokomo’s Temple B’Nai Israel.Interim Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke noted that more than 100 of the world's most prestigious museums and galleries, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Musée d'Art Moderne in Paris and the Smithsonian Institution, have Kohn's prints in their collections.

"We are grateful to the members of the Kokomo Temple B'Nai Israel for the painting," she said. "I appreciated Karen Mervis and Frank Stein bringing the painting to campus. Since Misch Kohn is a Kokomo native, a graduate of the IU Herron School of Art, and received an honorary degree from IU Kokomo in 1991, it is most fitting that his work be displayed on our campus. I look forward to an exhibition of his work in our gallery in 2016."

Temple B'Nai Israel President Mervis said Kohn's family belonged to the temple, and they believe Kohn's mother gave the painting to the congregation.

"We have had it for many, many years," she said. "We thought with IU Kokomo's art gallery, and with Misch's background with IU, that would be a nice home for it. More people can enjoy it there, and it will get the respect it deserves."

IU Kokomo has another of Kohn's prints in its library. He was born in Kokomo in 1916, the son of Russian emigrants. He was an acclaimed painter and printmaker, sharing studio space with Pablo Picasso and Marc Chagall while studying in France as a Guggenheim Fellow.

Locally, the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library also has a work by Kohn in its collection.

Kohn died in 2003. He was posthumously inducted into the Howard County Hall of Legends in 2010.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — Indiana University Kokomo honors five students for excellence in Spanish language, as the first members of the new chapter of Sigma Delta Pi National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society.

Spanish Honor Society initiationSpanish students inducted into the prestigious Spanish Language Honor society, Sigma Delta Pi.
The honor society recently conducted its first initiation in the Kelley Student Center.

Elementary education student Breanna Santucci considers it a great honor.

"I am a strong believer that it is important for people to educate themselves about other cultures, because it makes you a better person," Santucci, from Kokomo, said. "Being a part of this society will help me build relations with people of different backgrounds, and learn more about their culture. Plus, it will make me stand out from other applicants when I pursue my career."

Improving job prospects is on recent IU Kokomo business graduate Kayla George's mind as well.

"Being chosen to be part of Sigma Delta Pi will provide me with another way of promoting myself to potential future employers," she said. "In today's society, being able to understand and speak Spanish is becoming even more important, as the number of Spanish speakers continues to grow."

George, a current Master of Business Administration student at Indiana University—Purdue University Indianapolis, thanked faculty co-sponsor J.R. Pico, senior lecturer in Spanish, for his efforts to bring the honor society to campus.

Pico is excited to qualify for an IU Kokomo chapter.

"This puts us at a superior level in our teaching of Spanish, and our students honored will have numerous benefits as members of our chapter," he said. "For one, there are scholarships available that would allow them to travel to Spanish speaking countries. Travel gives them an opportunity to put their foreign language knowledge to use in real life situations, and to learn more about the culture in person."

The five students, along with Pico and co-advisor Christine Taff, are charter members of the Omega Upsilon chapter. New initiates are Kristen Berry, Logansport; Kayla George, Peru; Tyler Keck, Breanna Santucci, and Lesly Winburn, Kokomo.

Those selected must have completed at least three years, or the equivalent, of college level Spanish, with an average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in those courses, rank in the upper 35 percent of their class, and completed at least three semesters of college work. Each one also must have genuine interest in Hispanic language and culture, and be of good moral character.

Sigma Delta Pi, the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society, is a non-profit organization, founded at the University of California Berkeley. It has nearly 600 chapters in the United States and Canada.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.