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

May 1, 2003


Dennis Curran, Distinguished Service Professor of Chemistry and Bayer Professor in the Department of Chemistry, received a Pittsburgh Innovator Award from Pittsburgh magazine. The award was presented during “SciTech Spectacular” April 10 at the Carnegie Science Center.

Betsy Benson, publisher/editor of Pittsburgh magazine, presented Curran with the award, recognizing him for creating “a new method of synthesizing and separating chemical compounds used by pharmaceutical and biotech companies.”

Curran, who has carved an international niche in combinatorial chemistry, is profiled in the publication’s May edition.


The Pittsburgh Chapter of Transplant Recipients International Organization (TRIO) honored University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) transplant surgeon Robert L. Kormos and UPMC transplant physician Srinivas Murali April 21.

Kormos is professor of surgery in the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Pitt’s School of Medicine and director of Thoracic Transplantation and the Artificial Heart Program at UPMC.

Murali is professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiology at Pitt’s medical school and medical director of Cardiac Transplantation at UPMC.

TRIO is an organization devoted to improving the quality of lives of those affected by transplantation through support, advocacy, education and awareness.


Donald Ulin, assistant professor of English at the Bradford campus, has received this year’s Faculty Teaching Award.

Ulin, who has been teaching at Pitt-Bradford since 1998, received the award during the annual honors convocation in April.

“Don is a very demanding instructor,” said Michael Stuckart, interim vice president and dean of academic affairs. “Since he has been directing the English program, we have seen an impressive growth in the program. He has also contributed a great deal to our English curriculum by adding several new courses.”

Ulin was chosen by a selection committee comprised of two faculty members, two department chairs and one student representative. The committee reviewed letters of recommendation, student evaluations of teaching, syllabi and grade distribution. The committee also considered teachers’ knowledge of subject matter and their advising and dedication in working with students beyond the classroom in such activities as internships and research projects.

The award, which is in its second year, is open to any full-time faculty member who has taught at Pitt-Bradford for at least the last three academic years.

“Pitt-Bradford cares a lot about the quality of its education,” Ulin said, “and there are a lot of excellent teachers here. So it is extremely gratifying to be given an award for my own teaching.”

Before coming to Pitt-Bradford, Ulin was associate instructor at Indiana University in Bloomington. He also did research and wrote for an internationally syndicated science radio program in Bloomington.


Katherine M. Detre has been named distinguished professor of epidemiology in the Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH).

Renowned for her research in coronary artery disease and her evaluation of therapies and epidemiological methods, Detre has been at GSPH since 1974, when she arrived as an associate professor of epidemiology. She became a professor in 1979, and in 1980 she founded the school’s Epidemiology Data Center, which she still directs.

One of her main research interests is the treatment of patients who have heart disease as well as diabetes. In 2000, she began an international study comparing the effectiveness of various therapies for individuals with these two conditions.

She received her medical degree from Queen’s University in Ontario and her doctor of public health degree from Yale University.


Merrily K. Swoboda, associate professor of communication at the Johnstown campus, has been selected to receive the 2002-2003 President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.

The award will be presented at the May 3 UPJ commencement ceremony.

In announcing the award, Johnstown campus President Albert L. Etheridge said, “Dr. Swoboda routinely seeks opportunities to provide meaningful experiences for her students beyond the classroom through experiential activities, internships and professional networking. Her interest in diversity has opened a dialogue and prepared students for the global environment in which they will be employed.”

Swoboda joined the UPJ Humanities Division in 1978. She earned all her degrees from Pitt: a Ph.D. and an M.A. in rhetoric and a B.A. in sociology.

According to Swoboda, “Students learn best when they accept some responsibility for their learning, are challenged by assignments that require them to think, write and speak about course materials, receive fair and constructive criticism of their work, and feel secure enough in a classroom to take risks.”


Greensburg campus President Frank A. Cassell and the faculty awards committee honored professors and staff with awards at the college’s annual honors convocation March 28.

The awards include:

• Distinguished teaching — Martha Koehler, assistant professor of English;

• Distinguished service — Barbara Barnhart, laboratory instructor;

• Presidential citation for distinguished service — William Rued, associate professor of philosophy, and Elizabeth Tiedemann, director of Career Services; and

• President’s Award for Staff Excellence — Joseph A. Olczak, director of Plant Maintenance.

Koehler has taught at UPG since 1997. Her book manuscript, “Models of Reading: Clarissa and Its Wake,” has been accepted for publication by Bucknell University Press.

She graduated magna cum laude, with distinction, from the University of Rochester with a bachelor’s degree in English and earned both master’s and doctoral degrees in English at the University of Washington.

Barnhart teaches Foundations of Biology and Embryology laboratories and supervises biology and chemistry student employees and interns. A 1991 UPG graduate in biological sciences, she is chair of the UPG chemical hygiene committee and a chemical hygiene officer at the Pittsburgh campus. She also serves as chair of the natural sciences and new technologies academic village programming committee and the UPG assessment committee.

Rued and Tiedemann were honored for their work over a three-year period in securing a chapter of Phi Kappa Phi National Honorary Society at UPG.

Olczak was honored for his work in maintaining the campus buildings and grounds.


Diane T. Marsh, professor of psychology at the Greensburg campus, has been awarded an American Psychological Association Congressional Fellowship to work on national mental health and heath care policy.

Beginning Sept. 1, Marsh will spend a year working as a special legislative assistant on the staff of a member of Congress or congressional committee. Activities may include conducting legislative or oversight work, assisting in congressional hearings and debates, preparing briefs and writing speeches.

Last July, Marsh testified before President Bush’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, presenting testimony on the current status of the mental health service delivery system in the nation and recommending improvements.

Chair of the American Psychological Association Task Force on Serious Mental Illness and Serious Emotional Disturbances, Marsh has taught psychology at UPG since 1970 and has many years of experience as a therapist, researcher, consultant and workshop presenter.

She is a recipient of both the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching and Distinguished Service awards and is the author or editor of 12 books.

In 1998, she received the Pennsylvania Psychology Association Public Service Award, and in 1997, the Steven V. Logan Award given annually by the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill to a psychologist for mental health advocacy.

Marsh earned her bachelor’s in psychology at the University of Michigan, her M.A. in psychology at George Washington University, and her doctorate in psychology at Pitt.


The acromioclavicular joint team of the shoulder group at the Musculoskeletal Research Center (MSRC) recently received the Achilles Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Research Award.

Their winning study was titled “Biomechanical Evaluation of Three Common Reconstruction Procedures for Complete Dislocations of the Acromioclavicular (AC) Joint.”

Authors of the findings include Rajesh Jari, Ryan S. Costic, Mark W. Rodosky and the project’s principal investigator, Richard E. Debski. Debski is a faculty member at MSRC, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, where this work was performed.

The objective of the study was to evaluate the biomechanical function of three common surgical procedures for AC joint dislocations: the coracoclavicular (CC) sling, the Rockwood Screw, and CA Ligament Transfer Complex. These findings could lead to the design and development of new repairs and rehabilitation procedures for AC joint dislocation.


As part of its annual awards program, the Pitt-Greensburg Alumni Association (PGAA) has honored a professor as Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year, a graduate as Alumnus of the Year and a student for demonstrating outstanding service to the community through volunteerism.

The 2003 awardees are David A. Nichols, assistant professor of history; alumnus Rob Ritson, Hempfield Township manager, and student Melissa Brandt, a history major.

Since coming to UPG in 2001, Nichols has taught U.S. history survey courses and upper-division classes on Colonial America, the American Revolution and the American Civil War. He assists with the development of the Arthur St. Clair lecture series at UPG and corresponding undergraduate seminar meetings with each year’s lecturer.

Nichols also advises the UPG chapter of Pi Gamma Mu, the national social sciences honor society, and serves as faculty adviser to history majors. A magna cum laude graduate of Harvard University, Nichols earned his M.A. and doctoral degrees in history at the University of Kentucky.

Ritson earned his B.A. in political science at UPG in 1993. He worked as chief of staff to Tom Balya, Westmoreland County commissioner from 1996 to 2002, when he became the first Hempfield Township manager. In that position, he administers a $10 million budget and a staff of 55.

Nichols’s award is for research and instructional materials. Ritson’s award is a cash stipend that was given in his name to a deserving UPG freshman.


At the Titusville campus, Erica Altomare, assistant professor of psychology, and Yong Goodwill, staff member with Sodexho Marriott Food Service, were selected by students as recipients of the inaugural 2003 Sunshine Award. 

The award recognizes those who make the campus an outstanding place to learn and grow. Winners were selected by UPT students in recognition of their commitment and caring to the students and their work.


Melanie O. Anderson, assistant professor of business and director of continuing education, has been named a Sam M. Walton Free Enterprise Fellow for the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team at the Titusville campus.

Under Anderson’s direction, the UPT SIFE Team presented its educational outreach projects at the 2003 SIFE regional competition. The team was named regional champion for the second year in the two-year league.


Roberta B. Ness has been named chair of the Department of Epidemiology at Pitt’s Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH). Former chair Lewis H. Kuller stepped down recently to head the department’s Center for Healthy Aging.

Ness joined the GSPH faculty in 1993. She was the inaugural director of the school’s Epidemiology of Women’s Health Program, established in 1995 as the first university program of its kind in the U.S. In that role she oversaw a comprehensive effort to improve women’s health through graduate student education and research.

In March 2003 she was named associate dean for research at GSPH. She also is associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology and assistant professor of medicine at the School of Medicine and a member of the Magee-Womens Research Institute.

An internist, Ness has focused her career in research, with a specialty in reproductive and women’s health.

She received her bachelor’s degree in microbiology from the University of Maryland, her medical degree from Cornell University and her master’s in public health from Columbia University School of Public Health. Before coming to Pittsburgh she was on the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania.

Leave a Reply