International scientific research society chapter installed at RU

Sigma Xi logo

Radford University achieved a new level of interdisciplinary scientific and research dialogue Sept. 16 when a campus chapter of Sigma Xi was installed.

Twenty founding members joined Provost Sam Minner and Cristina Gouin-Paul, Sigma Xi’s Mid-Atlantic regional director, to sign the charter that joins RU with the coterie of international educational institutions and research organizations in the scientific research society.

Minner called the new campus organization "companions in zealous research:" and characterized it as "good friends with good relationships challenging the paths they are taking."

The installation crowned an initiative by Donna Boyd, eminent professor of anthropology and co-director of the Radford University Forensic Science Institute (RUFSI), to bring RU into the organization. The chapter’s 20 founding members represent the RU College of Science and Technology (CSAT), Waldron College of Health and Human Services and area businesses.


The Sigma Xi Radford University Chapter founding membership joins Mid-Atlantic Regional Director Cristina Gouin-Paul at the installation ceremony.

The Sigma Xi founding membership is:

  • Donna Boyd
  • Cliff Boyd
  • Jack Brockway
  • Gary Cote
  • Jake Fox
  • Christine Hermann
  • Greg Hodges
  • Raymond Linville
  • Judy Niehaus
  • Sara O’Brien
  • Orion Rogers
  • Susan Schoppelrey
  • Fred Singer
  • Christine Small
  • Francis Webster
  • Robert Whisonant
  • Joe Wirgau
  • Susan Woodward

"The RU chapter will enhance and support faculty and student research, promote collegiality among fellow scientists and allow a prestigious venue for presentation of science topics to both the university at large and the public," said Boyd. "It will be a perfect complement to the new Center for the Sciences and I very much look forward to the support of scientific research and education that Sigma Xi offers."

Sigma Xi is a 125-year-old international scientific organization of scientists and engineers, whose research spans the disciplines of science and technology. Today, Sigma Xi has nearly 60,000 members in more than 500 chapters in the United States, Canada and other countries, including Switzerland, Thailand, Lebanon, New Zealand and Australia. More than 200 Nobel Prize winners have been Sigma Xi members.

Boyd added the organization is not only a College of Science and Technology-centric society.

"Sigma Xi is not just for the hard sciences. It includes social and behavioral scientists, so our colleagues from across the campus are welcome," she said.

After the chapter names its officers, Boyd said, Sigma Xi will embark on a local series of Science Cafes, casual events under the Sigma Xi banner, which are open to everyone and feature an engaging conversation with a researcher or scientist about a particular topic.

In 2013, RU students participated in a regional Sigma Xi poster symposium.

Following the formal installation ceremony, Mary Lee Jensvold, associate professor of anthropology, presented the Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecture on her work with chimpanzees that communicate with sign language. Her studies, begun in 1986, include conversational behaviors, private signing, phrase development, chimpanzee-to-chimpanzee conversation, imaginary play and artwork by chimpanzees.

Sep 17, 2014