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April 13, 2006


Paul Paris, professor and chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the medical school and UPMC, last month was named the Practitioner of the Year by the Emergency Medical Service Institute (EMSI), where he serves as medical director.

Bill Groft, president of EMSI, stated, “We recognize a teacher, researcher, author and clinician, who has set the precedent for advancing emergency medicine through research, education, quality patient care and administrative leadership. We recognize someone who is known as a leader in emergency medicine.”

In addition to his duties at Pitt and EMSI, Paris serves as chief medical officer of the Center of Emergency Medicine, senior medical adviser of the city’s Department of Public Safety Bureau of EMS and a founding member of the Pittsburgh Emergency Medicine Foundation.

With more than 20 years of experience, Paris has won many awards and honors. In 1999, he was awarded a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, from Dalhousie University Senate, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Other honors include the Walter J. Thomas award for superior accomplishment in EMS from the Pennsylvania Emergency Health Services Council; the Ronald D. Stewart award for contributions to EMS from the National Association of EMS Physicians, and the EMS excellence award from the American College of Emergency Physicians.

Paris earned both his undergraduate and post-graduate degrees at Pitt. In 1976, he continued his post-graduate medical training with an internship and residency in internal medicine at the Maine Medical Center in Portland, followed by a fellowship in emergency medicine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, before joining the faculty at the Pitt medical school as assistant professor in 1981. In 1999, he completed a program for chiefs of clinical service at the Harvard School of Public Health.


Frank A. Cassell, president of the Greensburg campus since 1997, is one of four finalists for the position of chancellor at the University of Minnesota-Morris, part of the University of Minnesota educational system.

Cassell is expected to visit the four-year liberal arts campus, which enrolls about 1,700 students, April 17-19.

“It is not uncommon for sitting presidents to consider jobs elsewhere, and the fact that I am a finalist for this position does not mean that I am in any way unhappy at UPG,” Cassell said in a prepared statement. “I am flattered to be considered for this position, although at this point it is not at all certain that I will be offered the job or that I would accept the offer if, in fact, it was made.”


Three faculty members were among those honored March 31 at the 2005-06 Pitt-Greensburg honors convocation.

Shu-Jiang Lu, assistant professor of English, won the Distinguished Teaching Award; Christine McCreary, assistant professor of chemistry and natural sciences, got the Distinguished Service Award, and Jeffrey Sposato, assistant professor of music, was named the Distinguished Professional Development Award winner.

In a separate honor, a book written by Sposato has been named a finalist for the Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards.

The book on Felix Mendelssohn, “The Price of Assimilation: Mendelssohn and the Nineteenth-Century Anti-Semitic Tradition,” explores the composer’s sacred music and its subtext and is nominated in the creative communication category.

The annual RPS Music Awards are the United Kingdom’s most prestigious recognition of achievements in the field of live classical music. Awards are decided by independent panels consisting of some of the music industry’s most distinguished practitioners.

The awards will be announced in London on May 9.


Brian L. Houston, assistant professor of civil engineering technology at Pitt-Johnstown, has received the 2006 Professor of the Year Award from the Pittsburgh section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

Houston received his B.A. in integrated science from Northwestern University and his B.S. and M.S. in civil engineering from Oklahoma State University. Prior to coming to UPJ, he was a teaching assistant at the University of Oklahoma. He is a registered professional engineer in six states.

Houston is the UPJ ASCE club adviser and also is involved in research and engineering practice. He has helped to organize and advise students on numerous community projects, such as helping local Boy Scouts earn their engineering merit badge.


Law professor John Burkoff has been appointed executive dean of the University of Virginia’s Semester at Sea program for the summer 2007 voyage.

Semester at Sea previously was housed at Pitt. In June 2005, Pitt ended its 24-year relationship with the Institute for Shipboard Education, which administers Semester at Sea.

In preparation for the 2007 voyage, Burkoff will be assisting with the faculty and staff orientation for the summer 2006 voyage and will be sailing with the administrative team from Ensenada, Mexico, to Honolulu, the first leg of the voyage.


Lawrence Frolik, professor of law, was reappointed to the board of directors of the Achieva Family Trust, which manages more than $20 million for the benefit of disabled individuals.

Frolik was asked to join the guardianship legislation working group organized by the Joint State Government Commission to advise the legislature as to the desirability of proposed guardianship reform legislation. Frolik is the only academician among the 18 members.


Law professor Harry Gruener was selected as one of the Best Lawyers in Pittsburgh in the February issue of Pittsburgh Magazine. There were 443 lawyers chosen in 34 fields of law.

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