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Home > People > Awards and appointments, September 2007

Awards and appointments, September 2007

By Gayla Marty

Robert Bruininks, Richard Leppert, Frank Bates, Elaine Tyler May, Matt McGue, Peter Reich, Patricia Simmons.
Five new regents professors were recognized by the Board of Regents Sept. 7. Left to right: President Bruininks, professors Richard Leppert, Frank Bates, Elaine Tyler May, Matt McGue, Peter Reich, and Board of Regents chair Patricia Simmons.

Sept. 26

The first chancellor of the U of M-Rochester campus, Stephen Lehmkuhle, who arrived Sept. 10, was featured in a Q&A about the campus and the high-tech, high-growth southeast Minnesota corridor. Lehmkuhle comes to Minnesota with a background in visual neuroscience and leadership at the four-campus U of Missouri. Read the Q&A.

Longtime UMD benefactor and chemistry alumnus James Swenson, '59, was honored when UMD's Swenson College of Science and Engineering was named in his honor. The announcement of the new name and gifts from James and Susan Swenson and the Swenson Family Foundation was made Sept. 21 by Chancellor Martin and Dean Riehl. Swenson gifts have now reached $21 million, including new donations of $7.7 million for science and research scholarships and $3 million toward construction of the new civil engineering building. Read more about the gifts and a profile of Swenson.

The first director of Morris campus's Academic Center for Enrichment is Paula O'Loughlin, associate professor of political science and a 2007 recipient of the Morse-Alumni Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Teaching. The center will coordinate work related to study abroad, national scholarships, honors, undergraduate research opportunities, Morris Academic Partners, Undergraduate Research Symposium, and National Student Exchange. See her faculty bio.

Sept. 25

A novel by Edelstein-Keller Professor in Creative Writing Charles Baxter, Twin Cities campus, has been made into a movie that opens this week. The Feast of Love (2000) was adapted as Feast of Love, starring Morgan Freeman and Greg Kinnear. Read the feature story.

Peg Lonnquist
The interim director of the Office for University Women on the Twin Cities campus is Peg Lonnquist. Photo by Ami Berger.

Sept. 24

The interim director of the Office for University Women, Twin Cities campus, is Peg Lonnquist (right), appointed in June. Lonnquist earned her doctorate in educational policy and administration at the U and brings an extensive background in education and women's organizations, including nine years on the faculty in the Graduate School of Education at Hamline University, St. Paul. She has worked as program coordinator at the University YWCA and director of the Iowa State University Women's Center. The OUW is part of the Office of the Vice President and Vice Provost for Equity and Diversity.

The University News Service announced new assignments last week. Director Dan Wolter named Patty Mattern to national media relations and Justin Ware--who joined the staff six months ago--to broadcast and new media. Responsibilities of Mark Cassutt, Bob San, and Drew Swain were realigned, and Liz Giorgi, a 2007 graduate of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Twin Cities campus, joined the office as a new assistant to the director. Giorgi, who covered the international beat as a student at the Minnesota Daily, is assigned to international affairs. Updated assignments are posted on the staff page. The U News Service is part of the Office of the Vice President for University Relations.

The Office for Technology Commercialization (OTC) announced changes this month based on a reorganization nearing completion. Six technology strategy manager positions and four technology marketing manager positions have been created, in addition to a contracts coordinator and a compliance manager. Jay Schrankler is executive director of the OTC, and Barbara Nelson has joined the staff as associate director. See the OTC.

Sept. 21

The 2007 national champion Gopher wrestling team was honored at the White House Sept. 21. The team and coaches were greeted personally by President Bush, and the President's band played the Minnesota Rouser. This is the team's second trip to the White House; the first was after winning the NCAA championship in 2001. See the Gopher Sports news release.

Sept. 19

A film by Morris campus faculty and staff members--Echoes of the Cry of the Marsh, by Media Services director Roger Boleman, assistant director of marketing communication and design Mike Cihak, and English faculty member Chris Butler--has been nominated for an Upper Midwest Emmy Award in the documentary category. The awards gala will be Oct. 20. Read more about the film.

Kimberly Hewitt Boyd
The new EOAA director is Kimberly Hewitt Boyd.

Sept. 18

The new director of the Office for Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA) is Kimberly Hewitt Boyd (right). Boyd joined the University Sept. 18 from Hamline University School of Law, where she served as assistant dean for students and multicultural affairs. She brings a combination of skills to her new position from work in higher education as well as 14 years in employment, labor, and education law. She was previously a partner in the law firm Rider Bennett and has served as an in-house attorney for the Minneapolis Public Schools. Boyd holds a B.A. from Stanford University and a J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School. She will be located in 411 Morrill Hall and can be reached at and 612-624-9547. EOAA is part of the Office for Equity and Diversity.

New Graduate School associate dean Doug Ernie is responsible for expanding the Graduate School's ability to conduct academic program reviews, especially in science and technology, and administering a new review process for U-wide interdisciplinary centers, institutes, and initiatives. Ernie, associate head of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Twin Cities campus, brings significant experience with interdisciplinary centers and committees and has chaired the Graduate School's fellowship committee and graduate policy committees. The new, part-time position on the Graduate School's senior leadership team began Aug. 27. See the Graduate School spotlight and Ernie's faculty page.

Sept. 17

Four researchers will be inducted Sept. 19 into the U's Academy of Excellence in Health Research, the highest recognition of excellence given by the Academic Health Center: Bruce Blazar, pediatrics; Karen Ashe, neurology; Eric Newman, neuroscience; and Mary Story, pediatrics. Each was selected for their sustained, nationally and internationally-recognized health-related research. See the news release.

Sept. 14

The new director of athletic compliance is J. T. Bruett, who has served as assistant and associate director of athletic compliance for six years and interim director for the past year. Bruett is a U alumnus and former student-athlete in baseball who also played professional baseball for eight years, including with the Minnesota Twins. He holds a master's degree in athletic administration from the University of Illinois. The Office of Athletic Compliance works with Intercollegiate Athletics to oversee NCAA, Big Ten, and WCHA rules compliance for 25 Twin Cities campus teams and more than 700 student-athletes. See the news release.

Sept. 12

Kappa Alpha Psi, the largest predominantly African American fraternity at the Twin Cities campus, won four awards at the national convention in Minneapolis: Outstanding Chapter, the Guy Levis Grant Award by Oscar Stewart, Adviser of the Year by Fred Thomas, and the step show competition. Chapter member Dameon Daniels was elected a national board member, representing undergraduates across the country. The chapter is involved in mentoring, volunteering, charitable activities, and voter registration. See the news release.

Six Twin Cities campus students have been awarded Buuck and Warner scholarships administered through Disability Services: Janna Aaland, public health; Kimberly Conlon, pre-biomedical engineering; Kotumu Kamara, global studies with a minor in social justice; Shade Osifuye, life sciences and African American studies through the Inter-College Program; Corrine Spading, child psychology; and Jonathan Flath, mathematics. The two scholarship programs are dedicated to provide access and enhancement to higher education for students with disabilities. See the news release.

The new associate vice president and director of gift planning for the Minnesota Medical Foundation is Mark Parsons. He comes with years of experience in leadership and planned giving for organizations including the California-Nevada United Methodist Foundation, Utah State University, and Hamline University. He holds a B.A. in history and a Ph.D. in educational policy and administration from the U of M-Twin Cities. See the news release.

Sept. 10

The Board of Regents honored two McKnight presidential appointments Sept. 7. John Bryson, associate dean for research and centers at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, was named McKnight Presidential Professor in Planning and Public Affairs. He works in the areas of leadership, strategic management, and the design of organizational and community change processes. John Wagner, professor of pediatrics and director of the Division of Hematology-Oncology and Blood and Marrow Transplantation, was named McKnight Presidential Chair in Hematology and Oncology. Wagner's research focuses on the development of novel strategies for preventing immune complications in stem cell transplantation. See Bryson's and Wagner's faculty bios. The McKnight Foundation gift in support of presidential awards aims to recruit and retain those top professors and scholars who bring distinction to the University. See more information about McKnight Awards. Also at the meeting Sept. 7, five new regents professors were honored (top photo).

The University's interim compliance director is Susan Rafferty, currently assistant director of employee relations in the Office of Human Resources, formerly associate general counsel in the Office of the General Counsel. Her new appointment will begin Sept. 17. Rafferty succeeds Tom Schumacher, who left the University this month for a compliance leadership position at Medtronic. See the Office of Institutional Compliance.

The interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts (CLA), Twin Cities campus, is professor Jim Parente, Provost Tom Sullivan announced last week. Parente has served as associate dean for faculty and research in CLA and is a faculty member in the Department of German, Scandinavian, and Dutch. Parente succeeds Steven Rosenstone, who was named the University's first vice president for scholarly and cultural affairs, effective Sept. 10. See Parente's faculty profile.

Sept. 7

Geek Squad founder and chief inspector Robert Stephens was named the U's Entrepreneur of the Year Sept. 6 at the annual Minnesota Cup awards celebration. Stephens attended the U of M-Twin Cities for three years and left in April 1994 to form the Geek Squad with $200 and a bicycle. The idea caught on fast in the Twin Cities, and the company now has 12,000 agents and serves the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and China, with computer installations, repairs, and training. See the news release. See also 2007 winners of the Minnesota Cup, announced at the celebration.

Sept. 5

The interim director of the School of Music, Twin Cities campus, is Jerry Luckhardt, professor of conducting, associate director of bands, and conductor of the U's symphonic band, chamber winds, and new music ensemble. Luckhardt brings experience teaching in several top university music programs in the nation, including the University of Minnesota-Duluth, as well as public schools. His current appointment began in July. See his faculty profile.

School of Nursing and College of Pharmacy professor Cynthia Gross has been appointed to a three-year term as associate editor of the journal Quality of Life Research. The international, multidisciplinary publication is devoted to the rapid communication of original research, theoretical articles, and methodological reports related to the field of quality of life in all the health sciences. It also publishes editorials, literature, book and software reviews, correspondence, and abstracts of conferences. See the journal and her faculty bio.

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 for this page to

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