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Awards and appointments September 2006

By Gayla Marty

Deborah Swackhamer.
Institute on the Environment interim director Deborah Swackhamer. See Sept. 20, below.

Sept. 25

Morris campus assistant professor of theater Ray Schultz has received a Wilde Award for Theatre Excellence from Between the Lines, the Detroit area gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender newspaper. The Best Actor in a Drama award recognized his performance in Take Me Out at Performance Network, Ann Arbor, last summer. Schultz has been a member of the Morris campus faculty since 2000. For more information, see the news release.

Sept. 22

Regents professor and Brain Sciences Center director Apostolos Georgopoulos has been elected to the Cajal Club, one of the world's preeminent neuroscience organizations. The club also named Georgopoulos the 2006 Krieg Cortical Discoverer, an award to be made in Atlanta Oct. 15. The Cajal Club is named for the 1906 Nobel Prize winner for physiology of medicine, Santiago Ramon y Cajal, and it brings together top neuroscientists to share research findings on the brain and central nervous system. For more information, see the news release and read a story about Georgopoulos's work, "Changing your mind."

Professor of cardiology Jay Cohn, M.D., has received the first annual lifetime achievement award of the Heart Failure Society of America (HFSA). Cohn is also director of the U's Rasmussen Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention and internationally known for contributions to understanding cardiovascular disease and leadership in designing and carrying out clinical trials to examine new treatments for heart failure. HFSA was cofounded by Cohn in 1994 and he served as its first president. For more information, see the news release.

College of Liberal Arts senior Rebecca Mitchell was named one of Glamour magazine's top college women for 2006 in the October issue. For more information, see the news release.

Sept. 21

Jennifer Kuzma
Jennifer Kuzma is an assistant professor in the Humphrey Institute.

The interim director of the Center for Science, Technology, and Public Policy (CSTPP), Humphrey Institute for Public Affairs, is Jennifer Kuzma (right), assistant professor. Kuzma served on Gov. Tim Pawlenty's biosciences advisory council in 2003 and now serves on the board of the BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota. For more information, see news release.

Twin Cities campus athletic director Joel Maturi signed a three-year contract to stay at the University through 2010. During the past four years as director, Maturi led the merger of men's and women's athletics, significantly increased fundraising, played a major role in the effort to build TCF Bank Stadium, and focused on enhancing academic support for athletics. For more information, see the news release.

Sept. 20

The new Institute on the Environment's interim director is Deborah Swackhamer (top photo), professor of environmental health sciences, School of Public Health, and codirector of the U's Water Resource Center. The new institute will be located on the Twin Cities campus but be a "virtual roof" for all environmental research across the U statewide. For more information, see the news release.

Sept. 18

The U of M Alumni Association (UMAA) honored its top volunteers in a celebration Sept. 15. Winners this year represent the college alumni societies that came together to form the new College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences as well as the college societies for dentistry, pharmacy, nursing, and education and human development, and the Rochester area, Boston, and southwest Florida chapters.

  • Faculty/Staff of the Year is Debra Skaar (below right), '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, received the Alumni Service Award for her visibility and value as a UMAA ambassador.

Debra Skaar
Debra Skaar, College of Pharmacy, was named UMAA Faculty/Staff Volunteer of the Year.

For more information, see UMAA Volunteer Awards.

The UMAA's new director of advocacy will be Mary Kay Delvo, currently supervisor of community resources and volunteers at Anoka County Human Services, beginning Oct. 16. In her new position, Delvo will help to increase alumni involvement in the legislative process. She holds a bachelor's degree in public relations and social work from the University of North Dakota. For more information about the U's grassroots advocacy efforts, see U of M Legislative Network.

Sept. 14

The first campus sustainability coordinator for the University of Minnesota, Morris, is Troy Goodnough. Responsibilities of the new position include creating a campus sustainability plan; assisting faculty and students with research, projects, and curricula promoting green building, landscaping, and recycling policies; and serving as a resource to the community and region. Goodnough holds a bachelor of science in chemical engineering and a bachelor of science in chemistry from the Twin Cities campus. For more information, see the news release.

Sept. 12

Director of information services Hawona Sullivan Janzen, University Relations, has accepted a position with the Northside Partnership, a new collaboration that will bring University of Minnesota expertise and resources to bear on economic, health, education, and other needs in north Minneapolis. Sullivan has served the University's frontline communicators and operators in information services for eight years, leading a team of informed and customer friendly U staff members. Her last day at the U is Sept. 29. For more information about the team, see Information Services.

Sept. 7

The new director of the Leadership Access Program, Carlson School of Management, is John Dawson, formerly director of new student services at Normandale Community College and director of diversity for North Hennepin Community College. In his new position, Dawson will oversee early outreach intended to familiarize high school students from underrepresented communities with aspects of the Carlson School. For more information, see the news release.

Carolyn Chalmers, director of the Office for Conflict Resolution, has been appointed interim director of the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, effective Sept. 1. Mary Lay Schuster, professor, Department of Rhetoric, has been appointed deputy director of the Office for Conflict Resolution for 2006-07 after an internal University nomination and selection process. She will split her time between this position and ongoing faculty responsibilities. Schuster is also a faculty fellow in the Law School and a former director of the Center for Advanced Feminist Studies. She headed the Faculty Senate Committee on Equity, Access, and Diversity from 2002 to 2005. For more information, see the Office for Conflict Resolution.

Charles Christiansen
Charles Christiansen will head the U's new Center for Allied Health Programs.

Christopher Johnstone, Institute on Community Integration, is a recipient of the 2006 Human Resources Research Organization's Lola Zook Award for Excellence in Technical Communication. For more information, see the HRRO and the Institute on Community Integration.

Sept. 6

The first director of the University's new Center for Allied Health Programs will be Charles Christiansen (right), currently dean of the University of Texas Medical Branch School of Allied Health Sciences. He will begin his duties in December. The new center will work collaboratively with Mayo Clinic and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities to develop a key component of the growing University presence in Rochester. For more information, see the news release and "Center expands training in critical health professions statewide."

Sept. 5

Thomas Baldwin
Thomas Baldwin will join the Crookston campus as senior vice president in October.

Thomas Baldwin (left) has been named senior vice chancellor for academic and student affairs, a new position at the Crookston campus, beginning Oct. 1. Baldwin is currently a professor of vocational-technical education at Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas, and served as dean of its College of Technology and director of its Kansas Technology Center. He is a native of northwestern Minnesota and attended the Northwest School of Agriculture, forerunner of UMC, before completing degrees at Moorhead State College and Kansas State College. For more information, see the news release.

Denny Schulstad
Newly elected UMAA volunteer president Denny Schulstad will lead the organization for 2006-07.

The national volunteer president of the University of Minnesota Alumni Association (UMAA) for 2006-07 is Denny Schulstad, '66 (right), retired U.S. Air Force brigadier general, former Minneapolis City Council member, and community leader. The UMAA is a 57,000-member organization that connects alumni, students, and friends in support of the University. For more information, see the news release.

Chris Przemieniecki, head coach for women's soccer at the Crookston campus and instructor of sociology and criminal justice courses, won the Frederick M. Thrasher Award for superior research on gang behavior at the 2006 National Gang Crime Research Center Conference in Chicago. For more information, see the news release.

Dale Schatzlein, '71, longtime director of the Department of Concerts and Lectures headquartered at Northrop Auditorium, Twin Cities campus, died unexpectedly while biking with friends in Colorado Aug. 31. Schatzlein was known nationally as an arts advocate and innovative presenter of dance. He launched the jazz season at Northrop in 1986. A memorial service and reception will be held Sept. 8 at the Walker Art Center. A celebration of his life and legacy will be scheduled later. For more information, see the tribute on the Northrop Web site, originally published in the Star Tribune Sept. 2.

The Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs has selected Laura Waterman Wittstock as the fourth Louis W. Hill, Jr., Fellow in Philanthropy, a one-year fellowship in the Institute's Public and Nonprofit Leadership Center. Wittstock is president and CEO of Wittstock & Associates, a media and education consulting firm, and founder of MIGIZI Communications. "Her interest in focusing attention on Native American philanthropy and giving patterns in communities that are different from American and European models will provide an interesting and distinctive perspective on philanthropy," said Humphrey Institute dean J. Brian Atwood. For more information, see "Native American leader chosen as Hill Fellow."

Jim Gremmels
Professor emeritus Jim Gremmels will be inducted into the Morris campus Cougar Athletic Hall of Fame.

English professor emeritus Jim Gremmels (left), one of Morris campus's original 13 faculty members and its first men's basketball coach in the 1960 inaugural season, will be inducted into the UMM Cougar Athletic Hall of Fame Sept. 22. For more information, see the news release.

The new director of the International Education Office at the Duluth campus is Randal Zimmermann, who holds a master's in comparative and international development education from the U of M-Twin Cities and has worked in the Humphrey Institute, College of Education and Human Development, and Carlson School of Management. The position is UMD's first full-time permanent director for international education. UMD international programs have grown rapidly and now send more than 400 students abroad each year. For more information, see the International Education Office.

The University's first annual Entrepreneur of the Year Award will be presented to Gary Holmes, president and founder of CSM Corporation, on Sept. 7 as part of the Minnesota Cup award event at the McNamara Alumni Center, Twin Cities campus. CSM Corporation is a creative real estate asset company, and Holmes helped to develop the Carlson School of Management's entrepreneurial program, where he contributes regularly. For more information, see the news release.

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.