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May 3, 2001


John J. Fung has been named the Thomas E. Starzl Professor of Transplantation Surgery at the School of Medicine.

The endowed professorship was made possible by $1.5 million in contributions from former patients, students and colleagues of Starzl's, as well as friends of the University's Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute.

"Dr. Fung has made outstanding contributions in his own right. It is only fitting that he carry on the name and legacy of the man who has made among the most significant advances and discoveries in transplantation," said Timothy Billiar, chairman of surgery at the School of Medicine.

In 1983 Fung, then a surgical resident at the University of Rochester, paid another resident $20 to cover his clinical duties so he could hear Starzl lecture. Following the lecture, he and Starzl had a brief conversation that resulted in Fung accepting a clinical research fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh the following year.

Two years later, Fung returned to Rochester to finish his residency, but he came back to Pittsburgh in 1988 as a clinical instructor of surgery. In 1991, after a rapid series of promotions, Fung succeeded Starzl as chief of transplantation surgery to oversee one of the most active and largest transplant programs in the world.

Fung remains chief of transplantation surgery as well as director of transplantation research at the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute. Under Fung's leadership, advances coming out of the transplant institute have consistently dominated the pages of scientific journals and sessions at major national and international meetings.

Fung has performed about 150 kidney transplants and more than 750 liver transplants, including those considered medical firsts. On June 28, 1992, he took part in medical history when he was one of the principal surgeons who performed the world's first baboon-to-human liver transplant. He also performs intestinal transplants, living liver donor surgeries and various nontransplant operations, including hepatobiliary reconstruction and liver resections.

Fung received his doctorate degree in immunology in 1980 and his medical degree in 1982, both from the University of Chicago. He then completed a surgical internship and a residency at Strong Memorial Hospital, University of Rochester.


Janet "Dolly" Biskup, administrative assistant to the president at the Greensburg campus, has been named winner of the 2001 UPG President's Award for Staff Excellence. It is the highest award UPG grants to staff.

The selection was made by a committee composed of an emeritus member of the UPG Advisory Board, the president of UPG's Alumni Association and a community leader.

Biskup joined the Pitt staff in 1979 as a senior secretary for Western Psychiatric Institute & Clinic. She joined UPG's staff the following year as secretary to the president. She was named administrative assistant in 1997.

Biskup was cited for her loyalty to UPG, her contributions to many University programs and her unmatched commitment and sense of responsibility.


The Pitt-Greensburg Alumni Association has given its annual faculty award to Larry J. Whatule, associate professor of communication. Whatule was cited by the class of 2001 for his "demonstrated excellence in classroom instruction as well as devotion to the development of students."


Patrick M. Kochanek, director of the University's Safar Center for Resuscitation Research, has been named editor of the Journal of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine.

Kochanek also is associate professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine as well as pediatrics at the School of Medicine, and director of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine Research at Children's Hospital.

The journal, which began publication in July 2000, is published by the Society of Critical Care Medicine and the World Federation of Pediatric Intensive and Critical Care Societies. Its focus is on national and international pediatric research.


Ronald G. Reinbold, associate professor of German at the Johnstown campus, has won this year's UPJ President's Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Reinbold holds B.A., M.Ed., and Ph.D. degrees from Pitt. He joined the Johnstown campus faculty in 1968.

Reinbold is director of the Foreign Languages Laboratory and coordinates foreign language testing for freshman placement. During the summer of 2000, he escorted 45 people to Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, and Hungary.

Additionally he was instrumental in hosting the APPLES Foreign Language Festival in both 2000 and 2001.

In announcing the award, UPJ President Albert L. Etheridge noted that Rheinbold was a dedicated, creative and energetic teacher. "He makes every attempt possible for each class member to learn and to excel. Ron builds rapport with each class and with each student. He offers encouragement and constructive criticism, always challenging students to reach their potential," Etheridge added.


Three winners of the inaugural College of General Studies (CGS) students' choice awards were announced recently by the CGS Student Government Board.

CGS students nominated instructors and wrote short profiles of them indicating how the instructor influenced their lives.

Winners are: David Cercone, legal studies; David J. DeFazio, legal studies, and Louis Gentile, administration of justice.

Six instructors received honorable mention by the selection committee: Nathan Davis, music; Carmen DiCiccio, history; Bruce Dobler, English; Patsy Sims, English; Lee Weinberg, director of undergraduate studies, and Yumei Wu, French.

An awards ceremony was held April 19. Winners received commemorative certificates.


Simeon McClain has been named assistant director of Safety and Security at the Greensburg campus.

McClain has been a protection specialist at UPG since 1987. Prior to that, he was a corrections officer at Westmoreland County Prison and a security guard for a private firm.


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