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March 21, 2013

People of the Times

HumphreyKathy Humphrey, vice provost and dean of students, was one of five African-American leaders recognized by Gov. Tom Corbett for their commitment and dedication to their community.

Humphrey and the other four honorees were recognized at a ceremony at the State Museum of Pennsylvania. The ceremony coincided with the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation by Abraham Lincoln, which some suggest was the turning point in the Civil War that commenced the end of slavery.

The honorees were nominated by members of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on African-American Affairs.

Humphrey is a member of the board of directors of the American Red Cross of  Southwestern Pennsylvania and vice chair for the board of directors for Leadership Pittsburgh, a non-profit dedicated to strengthening regional leadership by identifying, enriching and providing networking opportunities for the next generation of leaders. She also is a board member for the Three Rivers Adoption Council.


Robert Arnold, medical director of the UPMC Palliative and Supportive Institute, has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM).

Arnold, a faculty member in the Division of General Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, is a national leader in palliative care, and his research focuses on educational interventions to improve communication between doctors and patients when patients face life-threatening illnesses. He is widely published on end-of-life, hospice and palliative care issues and is working with UPMC leaders to integrate palliative services throughout the UPMC system.

The award recognizes outstanding contributions and significant publications that have helped shape the direction of the field of hospice and palliative medicine.

In 2000, Arnold was named the first Leo H. Creip Chair of Patient Care, which emphasizes the importance of the doctor-patient relationship, particularly at the end of life. He is the director of the Pitt Institute for Doctor-Patient Communication and is clinically active in palliative care.


brooksShawn Brooks, associate dean of students on the Pittsburgh campus since 2008, has been named vice president for student affairs at Pitt-Johnstown. Brooks was selected following a national search and will assume his duties April 1.

Brooks received his BA from Thiel College and an MA in student personnel services from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He also received an MA and PhD in higher education and organizational change from UCLA and is a graduate of Harvard University’s Management and Leadership in Education Institute.

His career has included positions at St. Lawrence University, UCLA and Georgia Institute of Technology.

In announcing the appointment, UPJ President Jem Spectar said: “Dr. Brooks is a forward-thinking administrator and an enthusiastic leader who can implement the vision of the institution through effective planning, program development and assessment. He brings an impressive record of fostering and achieving student life outcomes, including retention, student satisfaction, and campus and civic engagement.”


The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra has commissioned three Pitt composers for the orchestra’s 2013-14 season in what is being billed as the Year of Pittsburgh Composers.

Faculty members Mathew Rosenblum and Amy Williams, and doctoral candidate Bomi Jang will join Patrick Burke (Duquesne University) and Reza Vali (Carnegie Mellon University) in composing a collaborative work that will premiere Feb. 7-9, 2014.


Barbara Weissberger, faculty member in the Department of Studio Arts, has been awarded an NEA Distinguished Fellowship to The Hambidge Center in Georgia for a three-week residency this summer.

Weissberger plans to work on Collage Formations, her current series of installations and related photographs. She creates abstract still-life photographic prints, pairs them with small sculptures, other objects and mirrors, then photographs the arrangements.


Vonda Wright, faculty member in orthopaedic surgery and sports medicine, is one of 64 health professionals featured in Rodale’s book “What Doctors Eat: Tips, Recipes and the Ultimate Eating Plan for Lasting Weight Loss and Perfect Health.”

In a four-page section, she shares exercise suggestions, healthy dieting techniques, ways to lower disease risk and a recipe.


Naomi Zigmond, professor emeritus of instruction and learning in the School of Education, will receive the 2013 Jeannette E. Fleischner Career Leadership Award during the Council for Exceptional Children’s Convention and Expo next month.

The award honors those who have advanced the field of learning disabilities through direct services, policy development, community service, research or organizational leadership.

Zigmond has spent her career studying the secondary and postsecondary school experiences of students with disabilities, and recently she has led the development and implementation of a system of assessment for Pennsylvania students with cognitive disabilities.


Pitt-Bradford’s five academic divisions have elected division chairs to four-year terms that will begin July 1.

Shailendra Gajanan, economics, was elected chair of the Division of Management and Education, succeeding Lizbeth Matz, business management.

Gajanan has been teaching at Pitt-Bradford since 1992 and has research interests in water rights in India as well as cost-benefit analysis of immunization programs. He holds a doctorate in economics from Pitt.

Warren Fass, faculty member in psychology, already has taken over the reins as chair of the Division of Behavioral and Health Sciences from Stephen Robar, political science, who was named associate dean of academic affairs last year.

Fass also serves as director of the psychology program and teaches courses in statistics, experimental psychology, human memory, human learning, child development and assessment. He holds a doctorate in experimental psychology from Ohio University.

Chairs of the university’s three other academic divisions were re-elected to four-year terms: Mary Mulcahy, faculty  member in biology, Division of Biological and Health Sciences; Jeff Guterman, communications, Division of Communication and the Arts, and Yong-Zhuo Chen, mathematics, Division of Physical and Computational Sciences.


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

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