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Home > People > Awards and appointments July 2006

Awards and appointments July 2006

By Gayla Marty

Megan Gunnar
Child development professor Megan Gunnar was one of three faculty members named Regents Professor this month. See July 20, below.

July 25

Robert Kvavik, a faculty member in political science and affiliate senior member of the graduate faculty in educational policy and administration, has been appointed associate vice president for planning, senior vice president Robert Jones announced. Kvavik will assume many of the responsibilities previously managed by Al Sullivan before Sullivan's assignment as special assistant to the president. The planning portfolio will include supporting systemwide academic aspects of capital planning, institutional research, and space management in all colleges and campuses. Kvavik has served as associate vice president in similar roles since 1990.

Elizabeth Malkerson
Elizabeth Malkerson, Minnesota Medical Foundation CEO

The Minnesota Medical Foundation's new president and chief executive officer is Elizabeth "Becky" Malkerson (left), effective August 28. The board aims to increase sustained philanthropy from $55 million in fiscal year 2006 to $100 million annually within five years. Malkerson is currently senior vice president for corporate marketing and communications at Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America. For more information, see the news release.

The new director of UMC facilities and operations will be Mark Koepke, beginning July 31. Koepke comes to Crookston from Fargo Public Schools and is a registered professional engineer. For more information, see the news release.

July 20

Three new Regents Professors, named by the Board of Regents this month, are Megan Gunnar (top photo), child development; Kathryn Sikkink, political science; and Donald Truhlar, chemistry. The appointments bring the number of Regents Professors to 23, with the goal of increasing the number to 30 by 2010. For more information, see the news release. See also the first of three profiles, on Gunnar and her work, "A world leader in the study of children and stress ."

July 18

Sixty former astronauts have awarded $10,000 scholarships to each of 18 engineering and science college students, including Alex Kossett, a junior in mechanical engineering at the Twin Cities campus. For more information, see the news release.

J. Eric Johnston-Ortiz has been named vice chancellor for finance and university services at the Crookston campus beginning in mid-August. He will oversee UMC's annual budget process of more than $20 million. For more information, see the news release.

The interim head women's basketball coach at the University of Minnesota, Morris (UMM), will be Tim Grove, currently head boys' basketball coach at Long Prairie-Grey Eagle High School in central Minnesota since 2002. A comprehensive national search for a permanent coach will begin during fall semester. Former Cougar women's coach Randi Peterson accepted a position at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. For more information, see the news release.

July 13

Lou Bellamy
Associate professor of theater Lou Bellamy

Associate professor of theater Lou Bellamy (right) has received the McKnight Foundation's 2006 Distinguished Artist Award. Bellamy, founding artistic director of the renowned Penumbra Theatre Company, was honored for his artistic excellence spanning three decades as a producer and director at the nation's preeminent African American theater. For more information, see Distinguished Artist Award.

Professors Harold Grotevant and Dana Johnson have been named to the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute's new Senior Research Fellows Program. The Adoption Institute is the leading research, policy, and education organization in its field, seeking to better the lives of everyone touched by adoption. Grotevant is a distinguished University professor of family social science and an international leader in adoption theory and research. Johnson, a professor of pediatrics, directs the International Adoption Clinic, Division of Neonatology, U of M Children's Hospital. Grotevant and Johnson are two of ten fellows from across the nation. For more information, see the news release.

Gordon Legge with U of Montreal president Luc Vinet and vice president Jacques Fremont in full blue and gold academic regalia.
U professor Gordon Legge, center, was presented an honorary doctorate June 2 by University of Montreal president Monsieur Luc Vinet, left, and vice president Jacques Fremont, right.

Gordon Legge (center left), Distinguished McKnight University Professor in the Department of Psychology, was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Montreal in June. Legge specializes in visual perception with a cognitive-neuroscience perspective. A major focus of his research is the application of the principles of basic visual science to explain the difficulties encountered by people with impaired vision in everyday activities, especially reading. For more information, see his faculty bio.

Liz Tollefson
Liz Tollefson, UMC assistant director of communications.

Elizabeth Tollefson (right) has been named assistant director of communications at the University of Minnesota, Crookston. Tollefson has served UMC eight years in media and community relations and outreach and will continue as project manager and editor of alumni publications as well as new duties. For more information, see the news release.

The new head of the golf and turf management program at the Crookston campus will be Rob Golembiewski, currently president of Paramount Landscaping and Maintenance of Tempe, Arizona. Golembiewski, whose background is agronomy, previously established and taught in the golf and turf program at Montana State University. For more information, see the news release.

July 11

Law, medicine, and bioethics professor Susan Wolf (below) has been appointed McKnight Presidential Professor of Law, Medicine, and Public Policy effective July 1. Wolf's research and teaching focus is health law, law and science, and bioethics. The professorships, supported by a gift from the McKnight Foundation, are assigned by the president and aim to attract and retain top faculty in fields of critical importance to the U. Wolf will be recognized by the Board of Regents at their meeting July 12. For more information, see the news release.

Susan Wolf
Susan Wolf, McKnight Presidential Professor of Law, Medicine, and Public Policy.

July 7

The assistant vice president in the new Office of the Vice President for Equity is Kris Lockhart, serving with vice president Nancy "Rusty" Barcelo beginning July 10. Lockhart will play a key role in developing and implementing the U-wide diversity plan among other duties. She received her bachelor's and law degrees from the University, worked as an attorney, returned to the U as a consultant in the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action 1996-2002, and served as director of diversity programs for Northwest Airlines. For more information, see the Office of Multicultural and Academic Affairs and "Barcelo named first vice president for equity ."

Neurology professor Karen Hsiao Ashe, M.D., was identified by peers in Alzheimer's research as author of three of the 18 most influential papers on the disease. The journal Nature Medicine conducted the poll. Ashe's most recent paper, which identified the protein complex proven to cause memory loss in mice, was published in Nature in March. For more information, see the news release.

July 5

Julie Sweitzer, director of the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA), will leave her position this month to join the Office of the Senior Vice President for System Academic Administration. Her projects will include the new Consortium for Postsecondary Academic Success and the Northside Initiative. An interim EOAA director will be named shortly and a search for a permanent director will be launched this fall by vice president for equity Rusty Barcelo. For more information, see the EOAA.

Harouna Maiga, associate professor of animal science, was honored as Crookston campus Distinguished Faculty of the Year. Maiga joined UMC in 2001 and teaches courses from livestock facilities to dairy production. He also advises student clubs and provides academic advising. For more information, see the news release.

Jeffrey Kahn, director of the Center for Bioethics and professor of medicine, has been selected to serve on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee effective September 1. The committee oversees human gene-therapy research in the United States and provides recommendations to the NIH regarding safety standards. For more information, see the news release.

Crookston campus honored four distinguished alumni as Top Aggies at the annual reunion of the Northwest School of Agriculture in June. They are Daniel Letnes, '31; Betty McVeety Nisbet, '36; Mary Randall Norgart, '50; and David Tucker, '61. Norgart lives in King City, Oregon and the others in the Red River Valley. For more information, see the news release

The 2006 Farm Families of the Year were announced June 26 by the U of M Extension Service. The 56 families, who each come from a participating county across the state, will be honored at the 25th Annual Farmfest in Redwood County August 3. This year's winners range from a couple that grows apples in Martin County to a Hmong couple and their children who grow produce in Ramsey County. For a list of the winners, see Farm Family of the Year.

Awards, appointments, and other items of note about faculty, staff, and outstanding students and alumni of the University of Minnesota campuses are published here as reported and summarized in Brief, the internal news digest of the U. Submit items to Gayla Marty at

See also U Awards & Honors. Most awards listed on this page post names of recipients.