Skip to Navigation
University of Pittsburgh
Print This Page Print this pages

January 24, 2013

People of the Times

nordenbergChancellor Mark Nordenberg will receive the Art Rooney Award April 18 from the Catholic Youth Association of Pittsburgh.

Mary Ann Heneroty, CEO of the Catholic Youth Association, said Nordenberg was selected for the outstanding job he has done at the University.

During Nordenberg’s tenure, Pitt completed a $2 billion fundraising campaign, made major capital improvements that included the construction of the Peterson Events Center and strengthened its reputation as a world-class institution.


AbramowitchBioengineering faculty member Steven Abramowitch was named the 2012 recipient of the Swanson School of Engineering’s Award for Diversity, “in recognition of his significant contributions to enhancing and supporting diversity in the Swanson School of Engineering.”

According to Sylvanus Wosu, the Swanson school’s associate dean of diversity affairs, Abramowitch was recognized for his exceptional outreach not only to the school’s underrepresented student populations, but also to middle- and high-school young women and minority students.

Abramowitch works with the school’s undergraduate research summer programs, funded by the National Science Foundation,  and with middle- and high-school student summer camps in collaboration with the Pittsburgh Tissue Engineering Initiative.

He has published 24 articles with women and underrepresented students.

He also serves as a faculty member in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences and as director of the Tissue Mechanics Laboratory at the Musculoskeletal Research Center.


Former Pitt faculty member Barbara A. Sizemore, who died in 2004, was named the winner of the 2013 Spirit of King Award.

The award, established in 1989 by the Kingsley Association, Port Authority of Allegheny County and the Pittsburgh Pirates, posthumously honors the lifetime achievements of local citizens who pursue human rights and equality in the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr.

Sizemore, the first African-American woman to head the Washington, D.C., public schools, was a nationally renowned practitioner, scholar and consultant on the academic achievement of African-American students. She was a professor from 1977 to 1992 in Pitt’s former Department of Black Community Research, Education and Development, where she also served as interim chairperson.


benderThe Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences has announced that Gretchen H. Bender, assistant chair and director of undergraduate advising in the Department of History of Art and Architecture, is the winner of the 2013 Ampco-Pittsburgh Prize for Excellence in Advising.

The award, which carries a $4,000 cash prize, honors faculty achievement in undergraduate advising and recognizes the contributions advisers make to help students maximize their educational experiences.

For the past 10 years, Bender has spearheaded many reforms in the Department of History of Art and Architecture. She is credited with being an engine of change in many ways, including revamping the core curriculum in art history, assisting with the revision of the architectural studies major and creating a museum studies program. She pioneered the use of undergraduate teaching assistants and mentors in all of the department’s programs and promoted undergraduate research through HAAARCH!!!, an event that showcases more than 50 undergraduate research projects every year. Most recently, Bender introduced a 1-credit seminar to art history majors that teaches basic research skills and introduces students to the wide breadth and diversity of careers that are possible in the arts.

In addition to her advising duties, Bender is a lecturer in modern art and architecture.

The Ampco-Pittsburgh Prize for Excellence in Advising is given annually to a full-time faculty member who has served as a department adviser for at least three years on the Pittsburgh campus.


Shawn T. Brown has joined the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC) as director of public-health applications.

He had been a biostatistics faculty member at the Graduate School of Public Health.

Brown will lead a new group at PSC whose research addresses the problems of predicting disease spread using large-scale agent-based modeling, vaccine supply chain logistics in developing countries and public health decision-making support via high-performance computational modeling.

This position is part of a trend to use supercomputing to address “big data” problems in the life and public-health sciences.

During the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, Brown provided decision support through modeling and advised a number of government offices on the response to the pandemic.

He has led workshops with partners in Vietnam, Senegal, Thailand and Benin on using computational modeling for strengthening vaccine supply chains and the introduction of new vaccines in developing countries.


Clark S. Muenzer, faculty member in the Department of German, has been elected president of the Goethe Society of North America. He will serve a three-year term.

The society, dedicated to the study of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) and his age, is recognized as a major forum for research within the international community of scholars of the 18th and early 19th centuries.

The society issues the Goethe Yearbook, a publication of 18th-century studies in diverse disciplines.

It also offers a book series with Bucknell University Press that publishes research about the Age of Goethe within the fields of literature, history, art history, the history of science, philosophy, art, music and politics.

The society’s next international conference will convene at Pitt in November 2014.


Heiko Spallek's award-winning photo

Heiko Spallek's award-winning photo

Heiko Spallek, an associate dean and faculty member in the School of Dental Medicine, is the initial winner in a Pitt faculty/staff photography contest. The contest is a new part of the annual international photo competition that has honored student photographs for at least a decade.

(All the winning photos can be viewed here:

The competition is sponsored by the Office of International Services, the English Language Institute in the linguistics department, Student Affairs’ cross cultural and leadership development office and the study abroad office.

Spallek’s winning photo of a mother sea lion tending to her baby was taken near La Loberia, a Galapagos island, during one of his frequent international trips.

Said Jeff Whitehead, director of the study abroad office: “It’s a beautiful photo. It embodies everything that our faculty do internationally, both through their work at Pitt and through their travels.”

Contest entries are accepted in the fall (this year’s dates are being determined) and exhibited in the Kimbo Gallery of the William Pitt Union. Members of the Pitt community can vote for favorites in two student categories and the new faculty/staff category.

Twenty-five faculty and staff submitted entries this year; the student category receives more than 200 entries each year.

Spallek said he plans to enter the contest again in 2013, perhaps with photos from his recent trips to Costa Rica, Peru and Alaska.


The People of the Times column features recent news on faculty and staff, including awards and other honors, accomplishments and administrative appointments.

We welcome submissions from all areas of the University. Send information via email to:, by fax at 412/624-4579 or by campus mail to 308 Bellefield Hall.

For submission guidelines, visit

Leave a Reply