Aggie Insights
    VOLUME 5 | ISSUE 11 November 2007     

In This Issue


Event Listings



USU Alumni Spotlight - M. William Lensch

Willy Lensch
Photo by: B.D Colen

What a long strange trip it's been

Dr. M. William Lensch is a pioneer of sorts. He has been around the country and around the world, from the Deep South, to deep in the heart of Rome and the Vatican. Dr. Lensch has traveled all these miles over the last 16 plus years to understand some pretty terrible diseases, such as Fanconi anemia, a blood disease that leads to bone marrow failure in children; a specific leukemia that targets Down syndrome children; and Teratomas, tumors which develop in newborns and infants. He has done all this while humbly paving his own road as he goes, as his field of research (human embryonic stem cell biology) is less than a decade old. Dr. Lensch is Affiliated Faculty at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, researching embryonic stem cells at the George Q. Daley Laboratory in the Division of Hematology and Oncology, Children's Hospital Boston and an Instructor in Pediatrics at the Harvard Medical School.

Willy, as he is known, is not new to the pioneering spirit. He grew up in Lehi, Utah on a farm where hard work and challenges were just part of his day. He was the first in his family to attend and graduate from college. It was on this farm where he developed his passion for, well, blood. Seeing sickness in animals and what the effects were, as well as abnormalities in animal births, began the journey which took him to Utah State.

Coming to USU and studying with professors like Dennis Walker got Willy to thinking about blood diseases in humans, and the fact that if a disease like leukemia has an ending point, it must have a starting point, blood. After spending two years at both the University of Utah and the University of Pennsylvania doing lab work, Willy would move again, this time to Portland to attend Oregon Health Sciences University. Six years and one Ph.D. later he took his 7 months pregnant wife to Boston and joined one of the few human embryonic stem cell research labs in the world. "The embryos we study are not 'aborted'. They were created in a fertility clinic. They have no brain, no fingers, and no nerves, and, thus, no feelings or even any capacity to feel whatsoever. They are not the equivalent of a fetus, a child, or an adult person" says Lensch when addressing the controversial nature of his work. "Who does have feelings, are the kids on the other side of Longwood Avenue (those in the Boston Children´┐Żs Hospital across the street from his lab) and their parents and families... and as long as there are kids across the street, I am committed to give what I can." What he gives, in addition to new genetic understating and treatment methods for the diseases he studies, is hope to the children that are ill and those who support them. "Working with the kids, seeing them live with a disease and, sometimes, ultimately die with a disease, makes (the effort) very real, and very worth it."

Through all of this, Dr. Lensch cites his greatest achievement as stepping foot on the campus in Logan and taking his first class at Utah State University. It was the changing point in his life which has become what he calls "a joyride." Dr. M. William Lensch lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with his wife and two children, Annie and Dante.

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USU Fall Enrollment Largest in History


Utah State University's fall headcount enrollment of 24,421 students, the largest in the university's 119-year history, marks an increase of 3.4 percent from fall 2006. New freshmen, non-resident and regional campus enrollments are all up.

"We are very pleased with our numbers," said Raymond T. Coward, USU executive vice president and provost. "Our enrollments represent tangible evidence that more students recognize the importance and value of a USU education."

Coward said USU's enrollment success this fall indicates that a wide range of students are taking advantage of the educational opportunities offered at Utah State in different locations and through different means of delivery at both beginning- and advanced-degree levels. FULL STORY>>

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Young Professionals night at Hamilton's in Logan


The Alumni Association is sponsoring Young Professionals pregame party at Hamilton's Steakhouse in Logan on Monday, November 12th at 5:30. It is a great chance to meet and network with other Aggies in the area. The cost is $5 and includes heavy hors d'oeuvres and soft drinks. Please RSVP by Monday the 12th by clicking here.

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Annual Chapter Presidents conference wraps up

aggie family day

Alumni Association Chapter Presidents met for their annual conference at the Alumni Center in Logan November 9-10, 2007. Representatives from around Utah and across the country met to discuss scholarship funding and awarding , hear from university administrators, and generate many ideas for exciting future chapter events. In addition to the conference, presidents also attended the Alumni Hall on Honor Banquet, the Aggie basketball game, a pre-game party and football game.

Alumni chapters are located in many cities throughout the country. For information on serving on a chapter board in your area, click here.

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Football and Basketball party schedule

Kevin Robinson jaycee Carroll

We are wrapping up the 2007 Football season and are just beginning the 2007-08 Basketball season. We have had great tailgate parties at Wyoming, Oklahoma, Utah, and Fresno State. We have one more tailgate and an upcoming Basketball tipoff party. Next up:

  • Basketball - USU at UC Irvine State - November 17, 2007
  • Football - USU at New Mexico State - November 17, 2007
  • Basketball - USU at Utah - December 5, 2007
  • For complete details on times, prices, and to RSVP online click here. All future Tipoff parties will also be on this site.

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    Holiday Alumni Dinner

    USU Jersey

    Holiday Date Night at the Alumni House featuring "Utah Chef of the Year" John Simpson's winning menu. You'll be the first to taste the original cuisine that "won the judges over" the night of December 1, 2007 from 7-9pm. The four-course prized menu is $25.00 per person in the elegant, holiday setting of the beautiful David B. Haight Alumni Center. Seating is limited, so call 435-797-2055 to make your reservation or for more details. Parking is included.

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    USU College of Engineering Receives $1 Million

    The Utah State University College of Engineering will receive a total of $1 million over four years from the Micron Technology Foundation to create the USU Micron Research Center. The center will host research and instruction in the area of emerging hardware and software technologies, primarily in reconfigurable hardware technologies.

    The center will also train USU undergraduate and graduate students in engineering and science, exposing them to innovative research and a professional work environment. FULL STORY>>

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    Back to the Buzzer


    Member of the 1971 Publications Council, members include left to right, Val Christensen, Mark Anderson, Aziel Jensen, Doug Foxley, and Marlin Nelson.


    Utah State University Alumni Relations sponsors many exciting events throughout the year. To keep informed about the most current ones, visit often.

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    Read the Classnotes

    Chapter News

    Saturday, Nov. 17 - 10:30PM to 12:00PM
    Utah State at New Mexico State Tailgate

    For more information about these and other alumni chapters and to find the chapter in your area, visit

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    USU Men's Cross Country Team Places First at WAC Championships

    USU Basketball

    LOGAN, Utah - Utah State's men's cross country team won its third straight Western Athletic Conference Championship, while the Aggie women placed third at American West Heritage Center... FULL STORY>>

    Jaycee Carroll Named To Naismith Trophy Preseason Watch List

    USU Basketball

    LOGAN, Utah - Utah State All-American Jaycee Carroll continues to receive national attention this fall and was recently named to the preseason watch list for the 2007-08 Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced. Last week, Carroll was named one of 50 preseason candidates for the 2007-08 John R. Wood Award. FULL STORY>>

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    Travel Opportunities


    February 13 - 25, 2008

    How does one describe "Legends of Siam?" Visions of ancient millennial temples, the timeless chants of Buddhist monks, flower markets, narrow canals and waterways, cuisine that bursts with flavor, shopping bargains galore, hill tribes clinging to traditional lifestyles, colorful costumes and festivals, floating down a jungle river in a long-tail boat stopping at remote villages, a real life setting that would be perfect for an Indiana Jones movie, and the "King and I," all grace your imagination. Thailand is a peaceful nation and has not experienced wars or political unrest for centuries, preserving the culture, architectural wonders and beauty of this ancient and beautiful land. An added highlight will be the opportunity to visit with USU Alumni in Bangkok. You begin to realize this is no ordinary adventure. This is one of those extraordinary, life-changing experiences. This is an adventure for "travelers," not for mere "tourists."

    For more detailed information Click Here.

    Tour Costs:
    Thailand & Cambodia Land: $1,599.00
    Air from Salt Lake City: $1,740.00*
    Single Occupancy: $499
    * Includes flights within Thailand. Flights form other cities available upon request.

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