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16 at UB Receive SUNY Chancellor's Awards

Release Date: May 10, 2007

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Nine University at Buffalo faculty members, five professional staff members and two librarians are the recipients of 2007 SUNY Chancellor's Awards for Excellence.

The Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities recognizes the work of those who engage actively in scholarly and creative pursuits beyond their teaching responsibilities. Recipients are Athol Abrahams, professor of geography, College of Arts and Sciences (CAS); Venugopal Govindaraju, professor of computer science and engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS); H.R. Rao, professor of management science and systems, School of Management; Andrei Reinhorn, professor of civil, structural and environmental engineering, SEAS; and Thomas Szyperski, professor of chemistry, CAS.

The Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching honors those who consistently demonstrate superb teaching at the undergraduate, graduate or professional level. Recipients are Rajan Batta, professor of industrial and systems engineering and associate dean for graduate studies, SEAS; Hong Luo, professor of physics, CAS; Lewis Mandell, professor of finance and managerial economics, School of Management; and David Schmid, associate professor of English, CAS.

The Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Professional Service honors performance excellence "both within and beyond the position." Recipients are Michael F. Dupre, associate vice president of university facilities; Mark C. Pitman, technical services manager in the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, SEAS; William J. Regan, director of conferences and special events; M. Eileen Sylves, instructional support technician in the Department of Biological Sciences, CAS; and Courtney J. Walsh, assistant dean and director of the Center for Executive Development, School of Management.

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." Recipients are Marilyn Kramer, associate librarian and head of the Cataloging Department in Central Technical Services, University Libraries, and Lori Widzinski, associate librarian and head of Computing and Multimedia Services in the Health Sciences Library, University Libraries.

An expert on the hydraulics and erosion mechanics of overland flow, Athol Abrahams has conducted field experiments on desert hill slopes in southern Arizona and southern New Mexico, flume experiments in UB's Geomorphology Laboratory and computer modeling in the Geographic Information and Analysis Laboratory.

He is the co-editor of "Geomorphology of Desert Environments" and "Overland Flow: Hydraulics and Erosion Mechanics," and recipient of the G.K. Gilbert Award and Melvin Marcus Distinguished Career Award from the Association of American Geographers (AAG), Gladys W. Cole Research Award from the Geological Society of America and AAG Honors.

A UB faculty member since 1997 and chair of the Department of Geography from 1988-91, Abrahams was named a UB Distinguished Professor in 2002. He earned a bachelor's degree with first class honors and doctorate in geomorphology from the University of Sydney in Australia.

A researcher on transportation planning, military logistics, telecommunications and homeland defense, Rajan Batta uses industrial engineering techniques to develop and analyze mathematical models of systems critical to society.

He has a consistent record of funding from federal agencies such as the National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institute of Justice, and private industries such as Boeing, United Airlines, Lockheed-Martin and Federal Express. He is the recipient of a 2007 SUNY Research Foundation Award for Research and Scholarship, UB's 2002 Sustained Achievement Award and the Institute of Industrial Engineering Fellow Award.

A UB faculty member since 1984, Batta served as chair of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering for nine years. He is a graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi, and earned a doctorate in operations research from MIT.

Michael F. Dupre leads a staff of 450 and manages an annual budget of $50 million as associate vice president for university facilities.

He oversees the university's capital construction program, including construction projects, major rehabilitation and infrastructure renewal; manages energy-conservation and utility-procurement programs; coordinates emergency-response support from SUNY Central Administration and the state Office of Governmental Services; and ensures overall maintenance and operation of the mechanical, electrical, structural and utility systems of more than 8 million square feet of building facilities. He joined the UB staff in 1975.

He is a member of the Association of Higher Education Facilities Officers and Society for College and University Planning.

The founding director of UB's Center for Unified Biometrics and Sensors (CUBS) and the associate director of the Center for Document Analysis and Recognition (CEDAR), Venugopal Govindaraju has been the co-author of more than 230 scientific papers and principal or co-principal investigator of more than $50 million dollars in research projects.

A fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and International Association for Pattern Recognition, Govindaraju has served on the editorial boards of five premier journals, including IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence.

He is a graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, and earned master's and doctoral degrees in computer science from UB.

Marilyn Kramer oversees bibliographic records for monographic materials in the UB Libraries as the head of the Cataloging Department in Central Technical Services and has an impressive record of service in faculty governance activities within the UB Libraries, Faculty Senate and SUNY Senate.

She serves as a SUNY faculty senator, chair of the UB Faculty Senate's Faculty Governance Committee and member of the SUNY Faculty Senate's Operations Committee. She is also a former UB faculty senator.

Kramer is a member of the American Library Association; Association for Library Collections and Technical Services, Cataloging and Classification Section; and State University of New York Library Association. She earned an M.L.S. from Indiana University-Bloomington and a J.D. from Temple University.

An expert on the physics and applications of magnetic semiconductors and nanostructures in the area of electronics, spintronics and photonics, Hong Luo is director of UB's Laboratory for Spintronics Research in Semiconductors; deputy director of the Institute for Lasers, Photonics and Biophotonics; and associate director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Physics. He was named an Associated Western Universities Faculty Fellow in 1999.

The co-author of more than 120 journal articles and invited papers, Luo's research receives support from the NSF, John R. Oishei Foundation and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

He is a graduate of Nankai University, China, and earned a doctorate in physics from Purdue University.

Lewis Mandell, an expert on consumer financial literacy and behavior, is best known for his research on the need for greater financial education for high school students. He is a member of the boards of the Jump$tart Coalition, Delaware North Corp. and American Financial Services Association Educational Foundation.

In 2004, Mandell received the William E. Odem Visionary Leadership Award in Financial Literacy, the highest award in the field. He served as dean of the School of Management from 1998 to 2001 and was named Teacher of the Year by the Undergraduate Management Association in 2004.

He is the former director of research for the U.S. comptroller of the currency in Washington, D.C., and earned a doctorate from the University of Texas.

A specialist in electro-hydraulics, computers, data-acquisition systems and control systems, Mark C. Pitman supervises technical and administrative functions related to UB's Structural Engineering and Earthquake Simulation Laboratory (SEESL) and George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) Facility.

He supervised the commissioning of UB's NSF-funded NEES lab, including the acceptance testing of all experimental equipment and networked telepresence infrastructure; spearheaded efforts to recruit, interview and hire technical staff members; and assists in training and supervising undergraduate student participants in the NEES- and MCEER-sponsored Research Experience for Undergraduates.

He is an active member of the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering's Computer Committee.

An expert on management information systems, decision support systems and expert systems and information assurance, H.R. Rao is a Fulbright fellow and recipient of the prestigious University Lilly Teaching Fellowship. His research has garnered support from the NSF, Department of Defense and Canadian Embassy.

The author or co-author of more than 150 technical papers, Rao is associate editor of Decision Support Systems, Information Systems Research and IEEE Transactions in Systems, Man and Cybernetics and co-editor-in-chief of Information Systems Frontiers: A Journal of Research and Innovation.

He earned a bachelor's degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur; an MBA from the University of Delhi, Delhi, India, and a doctorate from Purdue.

William J. Regan is responsible for developing and managing UB's broad spectrum of sponsored workshops, conferences, symposia, meetings and special events, including the Distinguished Speakers Series, Celebration of Academic Excellence and commencement ceremonies.

He is the recipient of the 2004 Didaskalos Award from Campus Ministries, 2001 Outstanding Service Award from the Professional Staff Senate and 1998 Elayne G. Wels Community Support Award from the Independent Living Center of Western New York. He is a member and past regional director of the Association of Collegiate Conference and Event Directors-International.

Regan earned a bachelor's degree in French literature (Russian minor) and an MBA in organizational behavior, both from UB.

Clifford C. Furnas Eminent Professor of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering and director of SEESL, Andrei Reinhorn is an expert on the behavior of structures under dynamic loads near collapse.

He is the recipient of the 2002 Engineer of the Year Award and 1991 Educator of the Year Award from the New York State Society of Professional Engineering, Outstanding Achievement of the Year Award from the Los Angeles Tall Buildings Structural Design Council and American Society of Civil Engineers Award for Outstanding Service. He holds two patents related to machine tools and diagnostic systems.

A UB faculty member since 1979, Reinhorn chaired the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering from 1996-99. He earned a doctorate in civil engineering from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel.

A critic of American literature and popular culture, David Schmid is author of "Natural Born Celebrities: Serial Killers in American Culture" and numerous articles on such subjects as crime fiction, African-American literature anthologies and Dracula.

He is a recipient of the undergraduate Student Association's Milton Plesur Award for Excellence in Teaching and a member of the Modern Language Association, the American Studies Association, the Popular Culture Association and the Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities.

A UB faculty member since 1994, Schmid is chair of the Graduate Review Committee and director of Graduate Studies in the Department of English. He earned a bachelor's degree from Pembroke College, Oxford University; a master's degree from the University of Sussex; and a doctorate from Stanford University.

M. Eileen Sylves supervises undergraduate lab courses in the Genetics, Developmental Biology and Immunology laboratories and teaches an advanced lab course to seniors and graduate students as an instructional support technician in the Department of Biological Sciences.

She serves as a member of the department's Safety Committee and chaired the EPA Compliance Committee in 2005, which prepared the department for inspection by the EPA.

Sylves has been a guest speaker at Roosevelt Elementary and Kenmore Middle schools on such topics as botany, genetics and careers in science, and taught in a program that introduces science and math experiences to high school students. She earned a bachelor's degree, magna cum laude, from Niagara University.

Director of UB's High-Field Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Facility and an adjunct senior researcher at the Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute, Thomas Szyperski is co-recipient of the prestigious Günther Laukien Prize and has been named one of the "Scientific American 50" for his development of a much faster, more precise and less expensive method of obtaining nuclear magnetic resonance data to map a protein's atomic structure.

He is the recipient of millions in federal research dollars from the Molecular and Cellular Biophysics Division of the NSF, Protein Structure Initiative (PSI) and New York Center on Membrane Protein Structure.

In 2006, Szyperski was named Inventor of the Year by the Niagara Frontier Intellectual Property Law Association. He earned a doctorate in biophysics from the Institute for Molecular Biology and Biophysics, ETH-Zürich, Switzerland.

Courtney J. Walsh heads the School of Management's efforts to improve the leadership capabilities of executives through business education, training and networking, and oversees development and implementation of entrepreneurial and degree programs for working professionals. Under her leadership, the Center for Executive Development has increased its net income by 50 percent and serves more than 4,000 professionals annually.

She co-teaches a course on emotional intelligence in the School of Management's Executive MBA program and serves as guest instructor in the school's PACE program DiSC assessment classes.

Walsh is the recipient of a Business First of Buffalo "Women Who Mean Business Award." She earned a bachelor's degree in management and marketing from Ithaca College and an MBA from UB.

Lori Widzinski oversees the operation of services and the audiovisual collection for the Digital Media Resources Center and coordinates Web pages in the Health Sciences Library.

The recipient of two Bright Idea Awards from the UB Libraries Peer Recognition Committee and a Best of the UB Web Award, Widzinski is the founder and editor of Educational Media Reviews Online and MC Journal: The Journal of Academic Media Librarianship, co-editor of the Upstate New York/Ontario Chapter of the Medical Library Association newsletter and editorial board member on Internet Reference Services Quarterly and Bulletin of the Medical Library Association.

She earned master's degrees in library science from Geneseo State College and in instructional technology from the Rochester Institute of Technology.