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July 24, 2003


Rory A. Cooper, professor and chair, Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology at the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, was recently awarded the Paul M. Magnusson Award from the Department of Veterans Affairs Research and Development Office. Cooper also is director and VA Senior Research Career Scientist at the Center of Excellence for Wheelchairs and Related Technology at the Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System.

The highest award given by the VA for rehabilitation research and development, the Magnusson Award is presented annually to a VA rehabilitation research and development investigator who exemplifies entrepreneurship, humanitarianism and dedication to veterans. Cooper was honored “for pioneering work in coalescing contemporary knowledge across multiple disciplines and for selfless dedication to building careers of young scientists within the VA Healthcare System.”

Cooper is considered one of the most visible advocates and scholars in the country in the area of rehabilitation of paralyzed individuals who use wheelchairs, and is one of the world’s leading authorities in wheelchair design and technology.


Pitt medical school’s Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition has recruited two renowned physicians to join its faculty. Both will work directly with the transplant programs at the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute.

Stephen J.D. O’Keefe has been appointed professor of medicine as well as director of Pitt’s Center for Intestinal Health and Nutrition Support, a service that helps patients maintain appropriate nutrition during acute or chronic illnesses. He also serves as the primary medical liaison for the Intestinal Rehabilitation and Transplantation Center at the Starzl Transplant Institute.

Thomas A.W. Shaw-Stiffel has been appointed associate professor of medicine with a dual appointment in the Division of Clinical Pharmacology. He also is medical director of the Starzl Transplant Institute’s Living Donor Liver Transplant Program.

O’Keefe received his medical degree in 1971 from London University. In 1974, he earned an M.S. in human nutrition from the university’s London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Prior to coming to Pitt, O’Keefe had spent five years on the faculty of Virginia Commonwealth University Medical College of Virginia. Most of his academic medicine career has been at institutions in South Africa, where he focused much of his clinical and research interests on nutrition and gastroenterological diseases affecting people living in underdeveloped countries.

O’Keefe currently is funded by the American Institute for Cancer Research to study the role of diet, colonic bacteria metabolism and risk of colon cancer in African Americans. He also holds a National Institutes of Health-funded grant to study the effects of diet on pancreatic enzyme synthesis in patients with acute pancreatitis.

Shaw-Stiffel received his medical degree in 1981 from McGill University Faculty of Medicine in Montreal, where he also completed his internship.

Prior to coming to Pitt, Shaw-Stiffel was an associate professor of medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, where he also served as director of hepatology and medical director of the Liver Transplant Program at Strong Memorial Hospital.

Shaw-Stiffel’s research interests include drug-induced liver disease, clinical pharmacology during liver regeneration and hepatitis C recurrence after living donor liver transplantation.


Bovey Lee, assistant professor of studio arts, received an honorable mention award for her digital print titled “Flesh IV” from the Digital Art Contest, an exhibition organized by Beecher Center for Technology in the Arts in Youngstown, Ohio. The juried exhibition features 36 digital artworks from more than 250 entries from the United States and Canada. The exhibition is on display through November.

In addition, Lee’s work is currently in two art exhibitions, “Pinned to the Wall” at Gallery 402 in New York City and “Web Biennial 2003 — The Preview,” an on-line exhibition featuring her web project, “Ultimate Life.” Web Biennial is hosted by the Istanbul Museum of Art in Istanbul, Turkey.


Pitt alumnus Ken Macha, manager of major league baseball’s Oakland A’s, received the Pitt Alumni Association Award of Distinction prior to a game this month between the A’s and the Anaheim Angels at the Network Associates Coliseum in Oakland, Calif.

Macha earned a B.S. in civil engineering at Pitt in 1980. He played baseball for the Panthers as a walk-on.

Macha played for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1974 and 1977 – 1978, the Montreal Expos in 1979 – 1980 and the Toronto Blue Jays in 1981. He served as a coach for the Expos from 1986 to 1991 and for the California Angels from 1992 to 1994 before joining the A’s as a coach in 1998. He was named manager of the A’s last December.

Macha also was the honorary chair of the July 7 Links to Pittsburgh golf outing, which benefits the San Francisco Pitt Club’s endowed scholarship fund. There are several thousand Pitt alumni living in California, with more than 2,300 alumni in the Bay Area.


Anthony Bouldurian, professor of anthropology at the Greensburg campus, received a grant from Pitt’s Innovation in Education Awards Program to pursue a project using resin casts of Paleolithic stone artifacts to create teaching materials for universities.


Bridgett Passauer, assistant professor and chairperson of the Sport and Exercise Science Department at the Bradford campus, has been named director of auxiliary services.

As director of auxiliary services, she will provide vision and leadership for the management and enhancement of all of the auxiliary services, which include the Panther Shop (the former Book Center), conference services, dining services, housing and vending.

She will be responsible for enhancing auxiliary revenues, financial planning, budget development and comprehensive contract negotiation for all auxiliary units.

Passauer came to Pitt-Bradford in 1991 as an athletic trainer. Three years later, she became head athletic trainer and began teaching. She has played a key role in developing the sports medicine, sport and recreation management and athletic training majors.

Before coming to Pitt-Bradford, she had served as head athletic trainer at Corry Memorial Hospital and Corry Area High School and was a graduate athletic trainer in 1986-1987 while she pursued her M.Ed. at Old Dominion University.

Passauer is a doctoral student in higher education administration at Pitt. She earned her bachelor’s degree in physical education and athletic training from Canisius College in 1986.


José-Marie Griffiths, the Doreen E. Boyce chair and professor of information science, library science and telecommunications in the School of Information Sciences, has been named by President George W. Bush to the President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee (PITAC) for a two-year term.

PITAC was established by executive order and is chartered by Congress under the High-Performance Computing Act of 1991 and the Next Generation Internet Act of 1998. PITAC will help guide the administration’s efforts to accelerate the development and adoption of information technologies (IT) considered vital for American prosperity in the 21st century.

PITAC members, who are IT experts from industry and academia, will provide advice on maintaining America’s pre-eminence in advanced information technologies, including high performance computing, large-scale networking and high assurance software and systems design.

Prior to her appointment at Pitt in 2001, Griffiths served as chief information officer and professor of information science at the University of Michigan.

She holds a B.S. in physics and a Ph.D. in information science from the University College, London.


Two mathematics professors at the Bradford campus were selected to help grade the College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP) examinations in calculus that were taken by high school students throughout the United States.

Yong-Zhou Chen, professor, and David Marchand, visiting professor, were among 600 high school and college mathematics teachers from the United States and Canada who traveled to Colorado State University last month to grade the written part of more than 200,000 calculus exams.

Also, Chen received a $1,000 National Scholarship from the College Board to attend the second annual national conference, which was held July 18-21 in Los Angeles.

Professors are chosen as readers and test-graders on the basis of the syllabus in their calculus classes and their professional development activities.


Stephanie Thomas, director of Student Activities at the Titusville campus, will serve as regional communications coordinator for the National Association for Campus Activities.

This volunteer position is part of the regional leadership team for the mid-Atlantic region.

Thomas will coordinate the production and distribution of regional publications and conference marketing materials, and serve as a liaison between the regional leadership team and the NACA office in South Carolina. She also will record, edit and distribute minutes of meetings, and maintain the regional home page. Her term runs through April 2005.

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