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Celebrating faculty and staff excellence

Three of the five '50 Years of Service' honorees at the Celebration of Faculty and Staff Excellence

Faculty members honored for 50 years' service to UB include, from left, William Baumer, Alastair Brownie and Mirdza Neiders. Jean Haar and David Triggle were unable to attend the event. Photo: Nancy J. Parisi

By SUE WUETCHER

Published October 10, 2013

Some might consider it to be the ultimate UB accomplishment: being a valuable, contributing member of the university community for half a century.

William H. Baumer, Alastair Brownie, Jean G. Haar, Mirdza Neiders and David J. Triggle were honored for being consummate university citizens yesterday at UB’s 10th annual Celebration of Faculty and Staff Academic Excellence, held in Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall, North Campus.

Lucinda Finley, vice provost for faculty affairs who served as mistress of ceremony for the event, called it a “rare and distinct pleasure” to recognize the five faculty members for 50 years’ service to UB. Finley noted that the faculty members, “through their steadfast commitment to our university over five decades, have greatly enriched the academic community and numerous students by their contributions.”

As three of the faculty members received their awards and were congratulated by President Satish K. Tripathi and Provost Charles Zukoski—Haar and Triggle were unable to attend—Finley briefly recounted the contributions of all five awardees:

  • William Baumer, professor and director of graduate studies in the Department of Philosophy, has held numerous and widely varying roles during his career at UB, including that of assistant vice president for academic affairs and controller for the university. He is a long-serving member of the Faculty Senate and a former senate chair, and was a program consultant and program officer for MCEER (Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research) when it was established in 1986.
  • Alastair Brownie, SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry, is a former chair of the Department of Biochemistry. A highly productive researcher and educator, Brownie has contributed to the education of thousands of UB medical and dental students. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a Stockton Kimball research awardee and a recipient of a 10-year National Institutes of Health Merit Award for his research on hypertension.
  • Jean Haar, clinical professor of otolaryngology and oral surgery in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, is an alumna of both the UB medical and dental schools. An excellent clinical professor, she is a member of the American Academy of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery, and has served as a diplomate of both the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and the American Board of Otolaryngology.
  • Mirdza Neiders, SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of Oral Diagnostic Sciences, is an exceptional educator who is known as an outstanding mentor to underrepresented minorities, women and international students. A native of Latvia, Neiders received one of UB’s inaugural awards for outstanding contributions to international education for her work at the Latvian Academy of Medicine. Neiders received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2001.
  • David Triggle, SUNY Distinguished Professor of Biochemical Pharmacology and an internationally known pharmacology scholar, has served UB in several key leadership roles over the course of his career. He has served as chair of the Department of Biochemical Pharmacology, dean of the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, dean of the Graduate School, vice provost for graduate education and research, and UB provost. In 2002, he was honored by SUNY with the rarely conveyed and very prestigious rank of University Professor in recognition of his extraordinary achievement as a scientist, administrator and educator.

Tripathi earlier opened the Celebration of Faculty and Staff Academic Excellence by noting that the ceremony was one of his favorite UB traditions. The annual ceremony 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.

In addition to honoring the faculty members for 50 years of service, the program also recognized the new SUNY Distinguished Professors, SUNY Chancellor’s Award winners, UB Distinguished Professors, and winners of the Graduate Student Mentoring, Sustained Achievement, Young Investigator and Teaching Innovation awards. See related story for the full list of honorees.

During the program, music department faculty member Roland Martin performed two pieces on the C.B. Fisk Organ: "Grand Choeur" by Alexandre Guilmant and "Wachet Auf" by Johann Sebastian Bach.

Tripathi told those attending the event that the faculty and staff members being honored “have achieved excellence in their fields because of their abiding enthusiasm for what they do.”

“Your excellence is the direct result of your passion, your drive, through your work, your university and the students we all serve,” he told honorees. “Your accomplishments and discoveries encourage us all to reach higher and further in our collective pursuit of excellence.”

In his remarks, Zukoski said the honorees “serve as inspiration for the future we envision for UB. What these colleagues teach us is the transformative potential of academic excellence.”

“Our most impactful colleagues choose to change lives through greater understanding, better policies, new technologies or new innovations,” he said. “The scholars we honor have chosen to make a difference. They commit their time, focus their skills and unleash their creativity to change the world.”