Campus News

UB celebrates faculty and staff

President Satish K. Tripathi and Interim Provost A. Scott Weber flank SUNY Distinguished Professors John Richard, Anthony Campagnari, Gary Giovino, Michel Bruneau and Errol Meidinger.

President Satish K. Tripathi (left) and Interim Provost A. Scott Weber (right) flank SUNY Distinguished Professors (from left) John Richard, Anthony Campagnari, Gary Giovino, Michel Bruneau and Errol Meidinger. Photo: Joe Cascio

By SUE WUETCHER

Published November 1, 2019

“Our entire university benefits from the excellence of all of today’s honorees. Your achievements and efforts are critical to UB’s success, reputation and positive impact.”
A. Scott Weber, interim provost and executive vice president for academic affairs

UB’s greatest asset is its people, and faculty and staff were front and center yesterday during the 16th annual Celebration of Faculty and Staff Academic Excellence.

The celebration recognizes those individuals whose long-term contributions have made a significant impact on the people and communities around them, whether through groundbreaking research or in ensuring the smooth operation of a department or office.

The occasion also provided an opportunity for UB to “celebrate who we are as a university,” Interim Provost A. Scott Weber told those attending the event in Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall, North Campus.

“As a public research university, we are committed to delivering research and creative activity, education and engagement that addresses the world’s great challenges and positively impacts our local community,” Weber said.

“We are dedicated to bringing new knowledge, changing perspectives, developing new technologies, improving people’s lives and preparing our students to become tomorrow’s leaders.”

Those honored at the celebration “exemplify excellence at UB,” he said, noting these faculty and staff have opened new fields of inquiry; revolutionized understanding of diseases and how they can be diagnosed and treated; developed new technologies and systems; influenced policies and practices on the university, state, national and international levels; and facilitated student success through excellent teaching and mentorship.

Joining President Satish K. Tripathi (left) and Interim Provost A. Scott Weber (right) are (from left) Michael Duffey and Bina Ramamurthy, recipients of the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching. Photo: Joe Cascio.

Joining President Satish K. Tripathi (left) and Interim Provost A. Scott Weber (right) are (from left) Michael Duffey and Bina Ramamurthy, recipients of the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching. Photo: Joe Cascio

“Through these accomplishments, you have made a significant impact on our world,” he said.

While Weber pointed out that the SUNY and UB awards the honorees have received recognize the significance of their achievements, other UB faculty from across the university have received numerous prestigious honors as well during the past year. These accolades, which Weber noted were listed in the celebration program, come from such entities as the National Science Foundation, the White House, the National Academies, the National Endowment for the Arts and the American Council of Learned Societies, among others.

“These highly competitive awards play an important role in building our public reputation and they publicly demonstrate the significant societal impact of our faculty and our university,” he said.

“Our entire university benefits from the excellence of all of today’s honorees. Your achievements and efforts are critical to UB’s success, reputation and positive impact.”

President Satish K. Tripathi, in welcoming remarks, called the celebration “a great UB tradition,” and congratulated the honorees, telling them that by excelling in their pursuit of excellence, they have “inspired our entire university community.”

“You are making a difference here at UB and in the communities we serve,” he said.

John Bacon performing on the vibraphone.

Music faculty member John Bacon performs “Reimagination,” a work he composed, on the vibraphone. Photo: Joe Cascio

Tripathi noted that the honorees carry out their missions everyday by thinking critically and working collaboratively in classrooms, libraries, labs, studios, offices and beyond. “Their dedication benefits every aspect of our university,” he said.

“Your achievements and discoveries,” he told honorees, “are an inspiration to your colleagues,” and are “helping advance our mission as a public research university: namely, to serve the public good through our ideas, discoveries and innovations.

“By making your mark in your respective fields, you are helping UB make a profound impact on our world.”

The highpoint of the event was the recognition of faculty and staff members who received distinguished honors and awards during 2019. They included those who have been named SUNY Distinguished Professors, UB Distinguished Professors and SUNY Chancellor’s Award winners, as well as employees with 50 years of service to UB. Also recognized were recipients of the Sustained Achievement, Young Investigator and Teaching Innovation awards, and the UB President Emeritus and Mrs. Meyerson Award for Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching and Mentoring, the UB Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring Award and the Distinguished Postdoc Mentor Award.

The event also included a performance of “Reimagination,” composed and performed on the vibraphone by John Bacon, adjunct instructor in the Department of Music.

A reception in the Slee lobby followed the celebration.

The honorees

Joining the ranks of SUNY Distinguished Professor, the highest rank in the SUNY system, are:

  • Michel Bruneau, Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering.
  • Anthony Campagnari, Department of Microbiology and Immunology.
  • Gary Giovino, Department of Community Health and Health Behavior.
  • Errol Meidinger, School of Law.
  • John Richard, Department of Chemistry.

The Office of the Provost created the UB Distinguished Professor designation to recognize full professors who have achieved true distinction and are recognized as national and international leaders in their fields. This year’s recipient is Jochen Autschbach, Department of Chemistry.

Four faculty and staff members have achieved the exceptional milestone of completing 50 years of service to UB. They are:

  • Saul Elkin, Department of Theatre and Dance.
  • Carlos Feal, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures.
  • Michael Frisch, Department of History.
  • Maria Runfola, Department of Learning and Instruction.

The Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities recognizes outstanding academic and creative achievements across a broad spectrum of scholarly and artistic fields. Recipients are:

  • Diana S. Aga, Department of Chemistry.
  • Maria Laura Feltri, Department of Biochemistry.
  • Qiaoqiang Gan, Department of Electrical Engineering.
  • Shambhu Upadhyaya, Department of Computer Science and Engineering.
  • Igor Zutic, Department of Physics.

The Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service acknowledges faculty who have made sustained and wide-ranging service contributions to a broad array of university constituents. Recipients are:

  • Peter L. Elkin, Department of Biomedical Informatics.
  • Karl D. Fiebelkorn, Department of Pharmacy Practice.
  • Steven D. Schwaitzberg, Department of Surgery.

The Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching recognizes outstanding teaching ability through superb classroom performance. Recipients are Michael E. Duffey, Department of Physiology and Biophysics, and Bina Ramamurthy, Department of Computer Science and Engineering.

The Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching recognizes consistently superior teaching by adjunct faculty at the graduate, undergraduate or professional level. This year’s recipient is Susan M. Allen, Department of Information Science.

The Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Librarianship recognizes “skill in librarianship; service to the campus, the university and to the field; scholarship and professional growth; and major professional achievements.” The recipient is Elizabeth Stellrecht, Health Sciences Library.

The Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service honors members of the professional staff whose extraordinary service has significantly enriched the university. Recipients are:

  • Matthew Ardila-Weigand, Orientation, Transition and Parent Programs.
  • Sean Brodfuehrer, Campus Planning.
  • Kerry Collins-Gross, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
  • Christopher S. Connor, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
  • Kristin M. Gniazdowski, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.
  • Kimberly M. Greenfield, College of Arts and Sciences.
  • Kimberly Kriz, Department of Electrical Engineering.
  • Erin O’Brien, School of Management.
  • Susan M. Snyder, Student Health Services.
  • Karyn St. George, University Honors College.

The Chancellor’s Award for Classified Service honors employees in the classified services who have demonstrated exceptional achievement and superior performance of duties. Recipients are:

  • Robert Czubaj, Campus Living.
  • Lori DuVall-Jackson, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering.
  • Veronica Meyers, School of Public Health and Health Professions.

The Exceptional Scholar Award for Sustained Achievement honors outstanding professional achievement that has been focused on a particular body of work over a number of years. It recognizes an unprecedented accomplishment in a senior scholar’s career, distinguishing a body of work of enduring importance that has gone beyond the norm in a particular field of study. Recipients are:

  • Paul E. DesJardin, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.
  • Bing Gong, Department of Chemistry.
  • Josep M. Jornet, Department of Electrical Engineering.
  • Jeffrey M. Lackner, Department of Medicine.
  • Jun Qu, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences.
  • Ram Samudrala, Department of Biomedical Informatics.
  • Jun Zhuang, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering.

The Exceptional Scholar Award for Young Investigators celebrates a recent superior achievement of a scholar in his/her field of study. Such an achievement will have distinguished the recipient as an up-and-coming scholar, as well as earned the individual acclaim for his/her work, which could be a published work or other scholastic or artistic endeavor. Recipients are James Chen, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and Shi Li, Department of Computer Science and Engineering.

The UB President Emeritus and Mrs. Meyerson Award for Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching and Mentoring, formerly the UB Faculty Award for Excellence in Mentoring Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity, recognizes the outstanding faculty mentorship that currently exists at UB and seeks to encourage further faculty commitment to and participation in the undergraduate research and creative experience. Recipients are:

  • Colleen Culleton, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures.
  • Kwang W. Oh, Department of Electrical Engineering.
  • David Schmid, Department of English.

The UB Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring Award recognizes exceptional excellence in faculty mentoring of graduate students at UB. Recipients are Stelios Andreadis, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering and Steven T. Diver, Department of Chemistry.

The Distinguished Postdoc Mentor Award is awarded on an annual basis to faculty members who excel in the mentoring of postdoctoral scholars. This year’s recipients are Omer Gokcumen, Department of Biological Sciences, and David A. Kofke, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering.

The UB Teaching Innovation Award recognizes faculty members who have contributed significantly to engaging students with new methods and approaches to teaching that have enhanced student-learning outcomes. Recipients are:

  • Jason N. Armstrong, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.
  • James O. Berry, Department of Biological Sciences.
  • Ramtin Sadid-Zadeh, Department of Restorative Dentistry.