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November 10, 2016

People of the Times

Chancellor Emeritus Mark A. Nordenberg and his wife, Nikki Pirillo Nordenberg, have created an endowed scholarship fund for health law students in honor of Alan Meisel, a leading international authority on end-of-life decision making and founder of Pitt’s Center for Bioethics and Health Law and the School of Law’s health law certificate program.

Alan Meisel

Alan Meisel

“Not only has Professor Meisel shaped the field of health law through his scholarly work, but he has taken the lead in creating special opportunities for Pitt law students,” said Mark Nordenberg, who met Meisel in 1977 when Nordenberg came to Pitt to interview for a position on the law faculty.

The health law program is one of the oldest of its type in the United States and is ranked 12th in the nation in the U.S. News & World Report law school specialty rankings.
Law firms provide legal services to hospitals, health insurance companies, nursing homes and pharmaceutical manufacturers, to name a few. The program provides students with a strong foundation in health law that will enable them to practice in a variety of contexts.

Meisel is the principal author of “The Right to Die: The Law of End-of-Life Decisionmaking.” The first edition of the book won the 1989 Association of American Publishers Award for the outstanding book in the legal practice category.

Meisel served on the ethics working group of the White House task force on health care reform in 1993 and was a member of the President’s Commission for the Study of Ethical Problems in Medicine in 1982.


Marcia Landy, distinguished professor emerita of English, was awarded an honorary doctorate from Stockholm University.

She was among eight awardees recognized in a ceremony in September in the Stockholm City Hall. The awards express the university’s appreciation for outstanding contributions in one or more of its areas of academic activity. Landy has taught Stockholm University courses on cinema studies and fashion studies for many years.


Mark Burdsall will take over as director of organization development in the Office of Human Resources, effective Dec. 29. He will succeed Cheryl Tomko, who is retiring.
A national search has commenced for Burdsall’s replacement as director of compensation.


Edward Chu, deputy director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, will be interim director of UPCI while a search for a new director is underway.

Chu, a faculty member in medicine and in pharmacology and chemical biology in the School of Medicine, is chief of the Division of Hematology-Oncology and co-leader of UPCI’s cancer therapeutics program.

UPCI director Nancy E. Davidson, who is associate vice chancellor for cancer research, Hillman Professor of Oncology and Distinguished Professor of Medicine and of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology in the School of Medicine, is leaving to become executive director of clinical oncology for the Fred Hutchinson/University of Washington Cancer Consortium, effective Dec. 1.


Sociology faculty member Jackie Smith and Pitt-Greensburg staff member Sheila Confer are among the winners of the 2016 Iris Marion Young Award for Political Engagement. The award honors members of the Pitt community who have worked on behalf of social justice and democracy.

The award was established by the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and what was then the women’s studies program (now the gender, sexuality and women’s studies program), in memory of Young, a former GSPIA professor, who died in 2006.

Smith’s research addresses relationships between globalization and social movements.

She is editor of the open access Journal of World-Systems Research, co-founder and co-coordinator of the Pittsburgh Human Rights City Alliance, and serves on the national steering committee of the National Human Rights City Network.

She also is co-founder of the International Network of Scholar-Activists and serves on the Leadership Committee of May First/People Link, a technology and communications rights organization.

Confer, who received a 2014 Chancellor’s Award for Staff for Excellence in Service to the University, is assistant director of the Academic Village at UPG. She also teaches in the theatre department.

Confer brings social justice education and training to the campus community through UPG’s Academic Village, the Allies Network and the committee for gender equity, which she chairs.

Outside of her work at Pitt, Confer is vice president of the board of directors of Blackburn Center, which aids victims of violence and abuse in Westmoreland County.
She also works on Blackburn’s social transformation committee and as the liaison for the agency’s ongoing relationship with Pitt-Greensburg.

Student winners are Hanifa Nakiryowa, an H. J. Heinz fellow with the Global Studies Center who is pursuing a master’s degree in international development-human security at GSPIA, and Saskia Berrios-Thomas, a senior majoring in social work and minoring in economics.

Awardees will be honored at a ceremony at 5 p.m. Nov. 17 in the William Pitt Union Kurtzman Room.

Freddie Fu, faculty member and chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, was honored during the Oct. 27 Pitt-Virginia Tech game for his 30 years as Pitt’s head football team physician and orthopaedic surgeon for the athletic department. Pete Madia/Pitt Athletics

Freddie Fu, faculty member and chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, was honored during the Oct. 27 Pitt-Virginia Tech game for his 30 years as Pitt’s head football team physician and orthopaedic surgeon for the athletic department. Photo by Pete Madia, Pitt Athletics

—Compiled by K. Barlow


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