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Luiz Kahl to Receive Norton Medal, UB's Highest Award, at 159th General Commencement Ceremony

Dangermond to receive SUNY honorary degree

By Sue Wuetcher

Release Date: April 29, 2005

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Luiz F. Kahl, chairman of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, will receive the Chancellor Charles P. Norton Medal, UB's highest award, during the university's 159th general commencement ceremony, to be held at 10 a.m. May 15 in Alumni Arena on the UB North (Amherst) Campus.

Jack Dangermond, founder and president of Environmental Systems Research Institute, generally acknowledged as the leading corporation in the geographic information systems (GIS) industry, will receive an honorary doctor of science degree from SUNY during the ceremony, which also will feature remarks by Sen. Charles E. Schumer.

Some 5,000 students are candidates to receive degrees during the general commencement and 14 other ceremonies to be held May 12-15 and May 20-21.

In addition to Schumer, President John B. Simpson will speak at the general commencement ceremony, as will graduating senior Krystle T. Carter.

Simpson and Satish K. Tripathi, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, will confer degrees.

Thirty-eight students will be recognized during the general commencement.

To receive the SUNY Chancellor's Awards for Student Excellence are Philip D. Badaszewski, Surbhi Bansal, Amy Daniels, Ruth A. Kleinman, Susan Y. Min, Timothy Olewniczak, Derek D. Reformat, Elizbeth M. Terragnoli, David Turnbull, and Bryan Weinstein. Two Chancellor's Award winners -- Rahul Nayyar and Sujata Sofat -- will be recognized at the Biomedical Sciences commencement ceremony on May 12. Matthew Watkins will be recognized at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences ceremony on May 14. Bryan Weinstein, who has a double major in psychology and business administration will be honored at both the general commencement ceremony and at the School of Management ceremony on May 14.

During the general commencement ceremony, Christopher F. Gorri will receive the Division of Student Affairs Senior Leadership Award.

Twenty-seven graduates will receive the College of Arts and Sciences Dean's Outstanding Senior Awards. They are Gerald Alexis, African American Studies; Andrea Koch, American Studies; Erin M. Parsons, Anthropology; Jennifer A. Krieger, Art; Yun Wa Chan, Art History, and Derek D. Reformat, Biological Sciences.

Also, MaryAnn Clune, Chemistry; Michael Lake, Classics; Roselinda Pruitt, Communicative Disorders and Sciences; Nicole Piciulo, Economics; Meghan Fadel, English; Monica A. Kassab, Geography; Shannon Bardo, Geology; Daniel M. Cross, History.

Also, Amanda Fischer, Interdisciplinary Degree Program; Emily K. Jamison, Linguistics; Timur Akhunov, Mathematics; Kimberly Root, Media Study; Emily K. Jamison, Music; Alisa Wandzilak, Philosophy; Ann Martin, Physics.

Also, Kathleen R. Hennessey, Political Science; Jennifer S. Rounds, Psychology; Aimee Woznick, Romance Languages and Literatures; Jacob D. Lange, Sociology; Candie Syphrit, Special Major; Teal Darkenwald, Theatre and Dance.

The vocalist at the general commencement will be Stacey E. Micoli.

The Norton Medal is presented annually in public recognition of a person who has, in Norton's words, "performed some great thing which is identified with Buffalo…a great civic or political act, a great book, a great work of art, a great scientific achievement, or any other thing which, in itself, is truly great and ennobling, and which dignifies the performer and Buffalo in the eyes of the world."

Norton Medal recipient Luiz Kahl, chairman of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) and president of the Vector Group, LLC, is one of Western New York's strongest advocates for regional development.

Since his election as NFTA chairman in 1998, Kahl has contributed substantially to revitalizing the local economy. He oversaw the $90.6 million expansion of the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport, significantly expanding its list of airline carriers and making Buffalo a regional air transportation.

He is spearheading the effort to develop Buffalo's waterfront, with the goal of providing the community with easy access to the harbor while encouraging further regional economic growth.

Kahl's commitment to the public good is reflected similarly in his service to UB. A member of the board of trustees of the UB Foundation since 1998, he has used his professional expertise to help advance the university's mission, particularly in helping to steward its resources and in shaping its investment practices and policies.

In developing Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) from a small consulting firm into the world's fourth largest privately owned software company, Jack Dangermond has worked to advance social and technological development in the United States and in more remote parts of the world.

In the early 1980s, he revolutionized the GIS field by developing and distributing ESRI's unique software to other firms and organizations, creating a community of GIS users equipped to handle the social, technological and environmental problems that ESRI seeks to address.

Widely recognized for the far-reaching impact of his work, Dangermond has contributed immeasurably to UB's own advancement in GIS research, serving on the advisory board for UB's National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis, as well as on the advisory board for the university's Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship in Geographic Information Science.

In addition to the general commencement, UB will hold 14 other commencement ceremonies:

• Biomedical Sciences, 6 p.m., May 12, Center for the Arts, North Campus. This ceremony recognizes graduate and undergraduate students in the biomedical sciences, including special studies majors. The speaker will be Bettie Sue Siler Masters, professor and Robert A. Welch Foundation Chair, Department of Biochemistry, University of Texas Health Sciences Center, San Antonio. Simpson will confer degrees.

• Graduate School of Education, 9 a.m., May 13, Center for the Arts. Donald K. Boswell, president and CEO, Western New York Public Broadcasting Association, will speak. Simpson will confer degrees.

• Graduate School, 1 p.m., May 13, Center for the Arts. Speaking will be Tripathi; Bruce D. McCombe, vice provost for graduate education and dean of the Graduate School, and Xun Liu, president, Graduate Student Association. Simpson will confer degrees.

• School of Informatics, 9 a.m., May 14, Alumni Arena. The speaker will be Gregory D'Alba, B.A. '81, CEO, CNN Advertising, Sales and Marketing. Tripathi will confer degrees.

• School of Social Work, 9 a.m., May 14, Center for the Arts. Barbara Huddleston-Mattai, professor, School of Social Work, Buffalo State College, will speak. Simpson will confer degrees.

• School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, 1 p.m., May 14, Alumni Arena. Dean Mark H. Karwan will speak. Tripathi will confer degrees.

• School of Public Health and Health Professions. 1 p.m., May 14, Center for the Arts. The speaker will be Anthony J. Billittier, M.D., '87, commissioner, Erie County Health Department. McCombe will confer degrees.

• School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, 1 p.m., May 14, Slee Concert Hall, North Campus. Mary Craig, executive director, Area Health Education Center, will speak. Robert J. Genco, interim vice president for research, will confer degrees.

• School of Architecture and Planning, 2 p.m., May 14, Hayes Hall lawn, South Campus. Simpson will speak and confer degrees.

• School of Management, 5 p.m., May 14, Alumni Arena. Dean John M. Thomas will speak. Lucinda Finley, vice provost for faculty affairs, will confer degrees.

• School of Dental Medicine, 5 p.m., May 14, Center for the Arts. Lawrence E. Volland, D.D.S. '75, president, New York State Dental Association, will speak. Genco will confer degrees.

• School of Nursing, 2 p.m., May 15, Center for the Arts. Diana M. Bontá, B.S. '74, vice president for public affairs, Southern California Region, Kaiser Permanente, will speak. Simpson will confer degrees.

• School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, 2 p.m., May 20, Center for the Arts. Jerome P. Kassirer, B.A. '53, M.D. '57, former editor, New England Journal of Medicine, will speak. Simpson will confer degrees.

• Law School, 1 p.m., May 21, Center for the Arts. The Hon. Paul L. Friedman, J.D. '68, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, will speak. Simpson will confer degrees.