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Home > People > Awards and appointments August 2006

Awards and appointments August 2006

By Gayla Marty

Zigang Dong looks at a transparent sheet with scientific data on it.
Hormel Institute executive director Zigang Dong was named McKnight Presidential Professor of Cancer Prevention. See Aug. 23, below.

Aug. 25

The University of Minnesota Alumni Association (UMAA) has announced its top volunteers for 2006, to be honored at a ceremony Sept. 15. Faculty/Staff of the Year is Debra Skaar, '86, assistant professor in the College of Pharmacy, for leadership and commitment to the college alumni society above and beyond her contributions as a member of the faculty. Student of the Year is also from the College of Pharmacy--Phillip Brummond, '07. Alumni Bob Freemore, '75, and Patrick Weicherding, '72, '78, and '84, will receive Alumni Volunteer of the Year Awards as the team that brought together three separate alumni groups to form the new College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences Alumni Society. A third Alumni Volunteer of the Year Award will go to Stephen Litton, '65, '67, and '72, a leader for both the School of Dentistry Alumni Society and the UMAA board of directors. Andrea Hjelm, '65, past UMAA president, will receive the Alumni Service Award for her visibility and value as a UMAA ambassador. For more information, see UMAA Volunteer Awards and the news release.

The Academic Health Center (AHC) will induct four faculty members into its Academy for Excellence in Health Research for 2006: from the School of Public Health, Aaron Folsom, M.D., M.P.H.; and, from the Medical School, Stephen S. Hecht, Ph.D.; Harry Orr, Ph.D.; and James White, M.D. The academy was established in 2003 to serve as the highest level of recognition of excellence in AHC faculty research. The work of this year's has significantly impacted health issues such as cardiovascular disease, cancer research and treatment, genetics, and blood diseases. For more information, see AHC Academy for Excellence in Health Research.

Aug. 23

Cancer researcher Zigang Dong, director of the Hormel Institute in Austin, Minn., was named McKnight Presidential Professor in Cancer Prevention Aug. 22 at ground-breaking ceremonies for the new institute. Dong has served as chief of the institute's cellular and molecular biology research section and received the Hormel/Knowlton Professorship in 2001. Read more in "Dong named McKnight professor."

Dante Cicchetti
McKnight Presidential Chair Dante Cicchetti

Aug. 11

McKnight Presidential Chair Dante Cicchetti (left), Institute of Child Development and Department of Psychiatry, was honored with the Urie Bronfenbrenner Award for Lifetime Contribution to Development Psychology at the American Psychological Association convention Aug. 10-13 in New Orleans. Cicchetti is a leading researcher and scholar in the field of developmental psychopathology who joined the University faculty in July 2005. For more information, see the news release.

Aug. 8

Jim Perry in a white hat
Interim associate vice president and dean Jim Perry

The interim associate vice president and dean for international programs is James Perry (right), Morse Distinguished University Professor and head of the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology. He will provide systemwide oversight for the Office of International Programs, which includes International Student and Scholar Services, Learning Abroad Center, China Center, and Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition. Regents Professor Allen Isaacman has been named to a new part-time position as assistant vice president for international scholarship; he will also continue as director of the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change. For more information, see New appointments and interim structure, Office of International Programs.

Split photo of Ashley James and William Schuler
Award winners Ashley James (left) and William Schuler

Two University of Minnesota assistant professors are among 20 recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the White House announced July 27. Ashley James, aerospace engineering and mechanics, and William Schuler, computer science and engineering, were recognized for their outstanding accomplishments and contributions in research and teaching. Recipients must have received grants from the National Science Foundation's Faculty Early Career Program (CAREER) in the same year of their nomination. CAREER awards range from $400,000 to nearly $1 million over five years to support career research and education. For more information, see "Two young faculty take it from the top" and the White House news release.

UMD psychology professor and department chair Aydin Durgunoglu and her colleagues at the Mother Child Education Foundation in Turkey have developed a literacy program that has won UNESCO's King Sejong Literacy Prize for 2006. The group first developed the program in 1995 and continue to evaluate and revise it. The program has reached 65,000 people across Turkey. Along with other literacy prize winners, the foundation will receive $20,000 on International Literacy Day, Sept. 8, at a presentation in Paris. The prize was established in 1990 with a gift from the Republic of Korea. For more information, see the UMD news release and the UNESCO announcement. See also Durgunoglu's faculty bio.

Aug. 1

Roberta 'Bobbi' Cordano
Bobbi Cordano, new assistant dean of the Humphrey Institute

The Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs has named Roberta "Bobbi" Cordano (right) assistant dean beginning Aug. 14. Cordano, director of Disability Services since 2000, will work with Humphrey Institute dean Brian Atwood to provide leadership in strategic positioning, interdisciplinary partnerships, and public engagement within the community. For more information, see the news release.

The 2006 Minnesota Rural Health Hero is Gary Davis, associate director of the Center for Rural Mental Health Studies, U of M Medical School Duluth. Davis played a key role in developing telemental health service--mental health care that allows patient and practitioner to communicate through interactive video--to clinics in Bigfork, Littlefork, and Cook, Minnesota. The award was announced at the Minnesota Rural Health Conference, July 17-18, in Duluth. For more information, see the news release and Center for Rural Mental Health Studies. Davis was also featured on Minnesota Moment, a 90-second radio feature: hear the MP3 audio at "Rural Health Hero."

The first University of Minnesota faculty Fulbright winner announced for 2006-07 is David Nordstrom, research associate, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health. He will lecture at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy in Kyiv, Ukraine, collaborating with faculty members there to design and teach new courses in public health, epidemiology, and research in a new graduate program. For more information, see his faculty bio. A more complete list of Fulbright winners will be announced this fall at Council for International Exchange of Scholars.

Gary Schwitzer, professor, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, has been named one of seven winners of the Knight-Batten Awards for Innovations in Journalism. Schwitzer won the award for creating, a clearinghouse Web site for health news that helps journalists write accurate medical stories and consumers find useful health news. For more information, see the news release and his faculty bio.

Jeffrey Klausner
College of Veterinary Medicine dean Jeffrey Klausner

Three faculty members in the College of Veterinary Medicine received awards at the 2006 American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) convention, July 15-19, in Honolulu, Hawaii. Dean Jeffrey Klausner (left) was honored with the President's Award, which recognizes individuals for their positive impact on animal, human, or public health and on veterinary organizations and the profession. Under his leadership, the college was the first in the nation to select students based on behavioral competencies known to be associated with professional success; the college joined with the School of Public Health to develop a combined program to train a significant number of students for the next generation of veterinary public health professionals; and research infrastructure has been strengthened to successfully compete for national grants. Jeff Bender, assistant professor, received the American Veterinary Epidemiology Society Award. Marguerite Pappaioanou, professor of infectious disease epidemiology, School of Public Health, with an additional appointment in the College of Veterinary Medicine, received the Karl F. Meyer-James H. Steele Gold Head Cane Award for achievements that have significantly advanced human health through the practice of veterinary epidemiology and public health. For more information, see the AVMA news release and Pappaioanou's and Bender's faculty bios.

Winner of the Best Content Article for 2006, awarded by the National Council for Geographic Education's Journal of Geography Awards, is Paula Pederson, assistant professor of psychology, and coauthored by Pat Farrel, associate professor of geography, and student Eric McPhee. They wrote, "Paper Versus Pixel: Effectiveness of Paper Versus Electronic Maps to Teach Map Reading Skills in an Introductory Physical Geography Course." Pederson will receive the award in October. For more information, see the news release.

The interim executive director of the Community-University Health Care Center (CUHCC) is Deanna Mills, who has served as administrative director for the past year. Mills has 25 years of experience in community health and was honored in 2003 as a Woman Changemaker by Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. From its headquarters at Bloomington and Franklin Avenues in south Minneapolis, CUHCC offers comprehensive medical, dental, and mental health services to more than 9,000 people each year, of whom more than 80 percent live below federal poverty guidelines. Karl Self stepped down after six years as executive director and many years as a dentist at CUHCC. For more information, see the news release and CUHCC.

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.