Biltmore weekend more than estate tour

| January 22, 2014

Tom O’Halloran, assistant professor of environmental science, will give a lecture titled “The Mystery of Mountain Haze” during an Alumnae Association-sponsored trip to the Biltmore in Asheville, N.C. In addition to tours of the historic estate, the trip from April 10-12 also includes a keynote address, “An Insider’s View,” by Diana Cecil Pickering ’79, who is vice chairman of The Biltmore Company Board of Directors.

Tom O’Halloran hangs around his research station.

In his lecture, O’Halloran will explore the origins of the iconic haze that is so familiar in the mountains surrounding Sweet Briar. He also will discuss scientific hypotheses regarding possible effects of the haze on regional climate.

The forests of Central Virginia are conducive to the production of the haze, formed from tiny particles called aerosols, making Sweet Briar ideally located for this type of research. O’Halloran recently received a $100,000 grant from the Jeffress Trust Awards Program in Interdisciplinary Research to continue his work on aerosol formation in the region.

Along with funds received from the Cargill Foundation, he plans to establish a state-of-the-art air quality research station on campus. In addition to providing myriad undergraduate research opportunities for students, O’Halloran expects the station will attract regional and national scientific collaborators who are interested in similar research.

To register or for trip details, please visit If you have additional questions, contact the alumnae office at (434) 381-6131 or (800) 381-6131.

Category: Alumnae and Development