After hours with FAU’s new president

1 Sep

You’ve probably heard Mary Jane Saunders speak about science, research, and her goals for transforming the school into a more traditional university. But what you don’t know about FAU’s new president might surprise you: She loves Lady Gaga and Shark Week, and she’s in dire need of a recommendation for a good local Cuban restaurant.

FAU President Mary Jane Saunders

FAU President Mary Jane Saunders. (Photo: Michele Boyet)

Before becoming FAU’s sixth president, Mary Jane Saunders was provost and senior vice president of academic affairs at Cleveland State University in Ohio. Prior to that, she was the director of CSU’s Biomedical Health Institute and the founding dean of the College of Science, CSU’s second-largest college.

Before CSU, Saunders was a program officer and deputy division director at the government-funded National Science Foundation, director of the Institute of Biomolecular Science at the University of South Florida, and an assistant professor in the botany department at Louisiana State University.

FAU’s second female president earned her Ph.D. in botany from the University of Massachusetts and did her postdoctoral work through a science program at the University of Georgia.

And in her free time? Well…

“In my free time I really love to read novels and mysteries.” Saunders likes to read regional literature: “I read many novels in Cleveland that were about the area and I started reading Florida-based authors like Carl Hiaasen and Randy Wayne White.”

Might be yours. “I’ve asked all the staff and faculty to send me the books they have written. I read all the staff’s literature when I was in Cleveland and plan to do the same at FAU.”

Annavicenzo’s Italian restaurant (1930 NE 5th Ave). “I also really love Rocco’s Tacos. There’s just a great atmosphere and energy in there.” But, “I’m still looking for a good Cuban restaurant, I love Cuban food. I could use some suggestions.”

Project Runway. “I just love seeing the creations. My mother made clothes for me and my three sisters when we were younger, so I can appreciate how hard it is to do.” Also: MythBusters and Shark Week.

“The last movie I saw with my husband was Date Night. We were laughing until we cried.” But her favorite movie: “I don’t want to date myself, but I love The Big Chill. Brings back great memories of my friends in graduate school.”

“I hate to admit this, but I have Cher’s greatest hits album. But it’s still wrapped in the plastic!” Also: “I love Lady Gaga. Now she’s sort of a general phenomenon, but I believe I discovered her a long time ago. I think she is so talented and creative, and her music is fun.”

“I love going to the food court in the Breezeway and meeting students. I do some table-hopping and visit all the student organizations in the Breezeway.” Also: “The Jaffe Center for Books Arts in the library is just a treasure. I’ve never seen anything like it on another campus.”

“Actually, in my closet there is a wall for shoes – I’ve never had anything like it before and I love it. The Baldwin House is beautiful, but I love my shoe wall.” How many shoes? “I will not disclose how many shoes I own, but I will say there are only a few spots left.”

Saunders wants to add your art. “I want to showcase student and faculty art on the walls. It’s important to celebrate the accomplishments of our scholars.”

See this week’s issue: Issue 4, Volume 1


Students dance and glow at FAU’s annual Foam Party

28 Aug

FAU’s first week of Weeks of Welcome events ended with a whole bunch of bubbles and glow paint at the annual Foam Party.

Foam Party: Click below to see more photos

Foam Party: Click below to see more photos. (Photo: Rachael Joyner)

    Click HERE to see more photos from the annual Foam Party

Sponsored by Program Board, the event brought out well over 3,000 students. Armed with glow sticks, students enjoyed splashing themselves in glow paint, dancing in inflatable rinks filled with foam and sliding down a blowup slip n’ slide tunnel.

Look for more coverage of the annual event in the next issue of Owl Times.

Boca campus lights up with annual bonfire

27 Aug

With nearly 3,000 eager fans watching, the blaze at the 3rd Annual Bonfire on Thursday went off with a bang – or, a blast.

Click below to see more photos from the event

3rd Annual Fall Bonfire: Click below to see more photos

Click HERE to see more photos from the 3rd Annual Fall Bonfire

The event was sponsored by the Student Alumni Association, with help from Student Government and the Graduate Student Association. Members of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity built the University of Alabama-Birmingham Blazer mascot, which was set on fire along with nearly 500 palettes of wood and other donated materials.

Look for more coverage of the annual event in the next issue of Owl Times.

The fan’s guide to FAU football

25 Aug

If you had to take a test on FAU football, how would you fare?

If you’re not yet an A-plus fan, here’s a short course that will catch you up…

Here’s the problem: While FAU’s football team is only 9 years old, it’s
already racked up so much history and so many records that it’s hard for newcomers to get a grasp on it – sort of like being introduced to Lost with the third-season DVD.

If you want to become an FAU football fanatic, there are some great websites to bookmark: FAU’s official, The Sun Sentinel’s Ted Hutton at, and Marsus Nelson and Chuck King at

But what if you’re a fair-weather FAU fan who’s too embarrassed to admit it? Turn to page 6 for all you need to carry on a conversation about the Owls’ 2010 season. Also know this…

● Home games are free when you flash your Owl Card, and tickets for friends or family range from only $10 to $25.

● Coach Howard Schnellenberger is the only college coach with a 6-0 record in bowl games (which he compiled with three teams). When FAU won its first bowl game in 2007, it became the youngest team ever to achieve the feat.

● Rusty Smith, the popular quarterback, graduated last year and is now a Tennessee Titans – the first Owl ever selected in the NFL draft.

● An on-campus stadium for 30,000 screaming fans could be ready by next season. When that happens, trust us – everything will change.

FAU has got your back, but you have to know where to go

19 Aug

Welcome to the 2010 school year. If you’re a new student or a transfer – or even a grizzled senior – here are some helpful hints for surviving and thriving at Florida Atlantic University…

Have some fun
You visited the Student Union when you got your Owl Card, but did you notice the game room, pool tables, and video games? The Student Union also houses FAU’s only on-campus computer store and hosts many social events.

Get free stuff
When it’s time to take your first big test and your professor says you need a scantron, walk over and visit the people in Student Government for a free one. Located upstairs in the Student Union, SG leadership also has school spirit goodies during football season. Visit for more info.

Work out
If you’re worried about that infamous “Freshman-15,” don’t fret. The Rec Center, on the north side of campus, houses a state-of-the-art gym that rivals LA Fitness, a basketball court and leisure and lap pools. There are also group fi tness classes and a wide variety of intramural and club sports. The best part: It’s all free when you flash your Owl Card. See the fi tness schedule at www.fau.educampusrec.

Find quiet time
Besides nearly a million reference books, the Wimberly Library also has many general education textbooks. That’s right, you can borrow your textbooks! The five-story building also has a computer lab, private study rooms and a large collection of CDs you can rent just like the books.

Pull an all-nighter
The library may close, but the 24-hour study lounge next door does not. Sponsored by Student Government and located inside the Paul C. Wimbish Wing, the lounge has private booths, tables, computers and a printer.

Get a ride
If you’re taking night classes and rather not walk to your car or dorm in the dark, you can call the NightOwls for a ride. A staff member from the student escort service will swing by in a golf cart and take you anywhere on campus. Program their number in your phone: 561-297-6695.

Stay healthy
Since FAU strives to be your home away from home; Student Health Services can meet just about all of your healthcare and wellness needs. The clinic, located above the south end of the Breezeway, also offers free condoms and free HIV testing. Read more about their services at

Buy drugs
Need to fi ll a prescription? Do it at the FAU Pharmacy. Located inside the Student Services hallway above the Breezeway, the full-service pharmacy can fill most orders within 24 hours and offers discounts to students. Call 561-297-0072 for hours and pricing.

Talk it out
When things get tough and you need someone to talk to, the experienced staff at the Counseling Center is ready to help. They offer free, confidential counseling and psychological services as well as peer mediation and groups. Find out more at or call 561-297-3540.

Save money
When putting your money under the mattress isn’t the way to go, BankAtlantic operates a full-service branch on campus. Find them at the south end of the Breezeway or stop by one of their four ATM machines on the Boca campus.

Welcome to the power of the positive newspaper

5 Aug

We have a theory: FAU is growing so big so fast, there’s not enough room in the media to document it all. So every week starting this fall, Owl Times will spread the good news that happens on FAU’s campuses. But before then, you probably have questions. Let’s answer some of them…

FAU already has a newspaper – the University Press. Are you competition?

We’re not competing against the UP. We’re complementing it – and complimenting it. The UP does a wonderful job. But there’s more than enough news to go around. Advertising, too. Owl Times will accept no ads that the UP already has. In fact, we’re totally supported by advertisers that FAU’s Student Media department rejected. (Read more on that odd development in a future issue.)

What does the University Press think about Owl Times?

The UP editor-in-chief and managing editor understand our mission, because it’s not theirs. They lead a team of dedicated students who cover topics that interest them – which can range from investigations to concerts. Owl Times embraces all the good news the UP doesn’t have the staff or the space to handle. Read both publications and you’ll see what we mean.

What do you mean by “good news”?

With the award-winning UP, two Top 100 daily newspapers (Sun Sentinel and Palm Beach Post), and two alternative weeklies (New Times and City Link), there’s no shortage of watchdog journalism in our area. But what about the rest? Lots of admirable things happen here that get scant attention. That’s our mission and our passion.

This is all sorta strange, you know…

Yes, it is. But it’s going to be a win-win-win-win-win – for the UP and for all the students, faculty, staff, and alumni who care about FAU and crave more news about the school they love.