Astronaut, UB Grad, to Get SUNY Honorary Degree at UB's Annual Convocation on Oct. 4

Release Date: September 24, 2001 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Astronaut Ellen Shulman Baker, a 1974 graduate of the University at Buffalo, will receive a SUNY honorary doctor of science degree at the UB's seventh annual University Convocation, to be held at 3 p.m. Oct. 4 in the Mainstage theater in the Center for the Arts on the North (Amherst) Campus.

The convocation, which will feature remarks from President William R. Greiner, will honor and recognize members of the campus community for outstanding achievement.

Baker, who received a bachelor's degree in geology from UB, was named a civilian astronaut by NASA in 1985. She has logged more than 686 hours and nearly 12 million miles as a mission specialist on three space shuttle voyages.

In each of these flights, Baker and her flight partners achieved several firsts, breaking new ground not only in terms of space exploration -- on Baker's second Atlantis flight, the crew was the first group of astronauts to visit the Russian space station Mir -- but as well in the scientific frontiers of chemistry, biology, physics and medicine. The crews have made valuable contributions to the study of crystal growth, fluid dynamics and combustion in a low-gravity environment.

As a physician specializing in internal medicine, Baker has devoted a significant portion of her in-flight research to examining the physiological effects of space travel.

As a UB student, Baker excelled in athletics, as well as in the classroom. A star swimmer, as a freshman she became the first UB woman to place in a national collegiate athletic championship. That achievement led to her induction into the UB Alumni Association's Athletic Hall of Fame in 1994.

Baker earned her medical degree from Cornell University.

The UB convocation, which also will feature a performance by pianists Stephen and Frieda Manes, will open with an academic procession composed of marching faculty and staff led by the chair of the Faculty Senate (Michael Cohen), the chair of the Professional Staff Senate (H. William Coles III) and the platform party.

The ceremony will recognize three recently named SUNY Distinguished Professors: Sebastian G. Ciancio, SUNY Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Periodontics and Endodontics in the School of Dental Medicine; James B. Atleson, SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Law School, and Roger W. Mayne, SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

In addition, recent recipients of the SUNY Chancellors Awards will be honored.

Recipients of the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching are Kemper E. Lewis, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering; Mirdza E. Neiders, professor of oral diagnostic sciences, and Athos Petrou, professor of physics.

Nancy Bren Nuzzo, director of the Music Library, is the recipient of the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Librarianship.

Recipients of the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Professional Service are Josephine A. Capuana, administrative director of the University Honors Program; Shelley Frederick, assistant vice provost; Albert "Budd" Termin, head coach of the men's swim team, and James O. Whitlock, associate director of computing services, operational support services.

Following the ceremony, Greiner and UB Provost Elizabeth D. Capaldi will host a reception in the CFA Atrium.

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