Skip to Navigation
University of Pittsburgh
Print This Page Print this pages

October 12, 2006


A Pitt medical professor is one of 65 new members announced this week by the Institute of Medicine (IOM).

This brings IOM’s total active membership to 1,501.

Timothy R. Billiar, George Foster Professor and chair, Department of Surgery, was among newly elected members chosen by current members for their professional achievement and commitment to service.

IOM is recognized as a national resource for independent scientifically informed analysis and recommendations on issues related to human health. Members make a commitment to devote a significant amount of volunteer time as members of IOM study committees.


Anna C. Balazs, Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering and Robert Von der Luft Professor, has been selected to be one of the honorees of the Women and Girls Foundation’s celebration of Women in the Material World this December.

Balazs was selected from more than 60 nominees for her innovative work in materials. The selection committee was impressed by her professional achievements and her passion and commitment to innovation in her field.

The purpose of the award event is to honor innovators in the southwestern Pennsylvania region and to inspire young women to see the broad range of career options available to them.


Laura Schaefer, assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, has been named deputy director of the Mascaro Sustainability Initiative.

Schaefer’s research focuses on energy systems efficiency, including fuel cell/microturbine hybrid power generation, solid oxide fuel cells, algorithms and sensors for optimal building operation and alternative refrigerants.

Her work has been recognized with the National Science Foundation CAREER Award and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Inc. New Investigator Award.


Assistant professor Wendy Mars has been named director of the cellular and molecular pathology graduate training program, in the medical school’s Department of Pathology, effective Oct. 1. Mars formerly was associate director of the program. She also serves as director of the summer undergraduate training program and the departmental journal club.

Mars succeeds Robert Bowser, who will serve as associate director to assist Mars in the transition.


Frank Valentich, a machinist at Pitt for 43 years, was inducted into the Tamburitza Association of America Hall of Fame, the association’s highest honor, last month in a ceremony at the Detroit Tamburitza Extravaganza.

Valentich was recognized for his significant contribution to the promotion and preservation of tamburitza music both as a musician and as a craftsman who has made high-quality instruments for musicians throughout the United States and Canada.

At Pitt, Valentich supports faculty and graduate student researchers in neuroscience, biology, neurobiology and psychiatry by designing and building specialized laboratory equipment.


Nina Girard, associate professor of mathematics at the Johnstown campus, has won the Pennsylvania Council of Teachers of Mathematics (PCTM) 2006 award for outstanding contributions to mathematics education.

The award is presented annually to a mathematician or a mathematics educator who has made a significant contribution to mathematics education in Pennsylvania.

Girard’s involvement in the field at various levels, including serving on executive boards, review teams and task forces throughout the commonwealth, in addition to her teaching and training of pre-service mathematics teachers at UPJ and in-service teachers at area schools, contributed to her winning the award.

PCTM is a professional organization of teachers, professors, administrators, supervisors, students and others interested in mathematics teaching. The award will be presented at the annual PCTM conference Oct. 26.


William Kory, associate professor of geography and department chair at Pitt-Johnstown, has been selected to receive the Distinguished Service Award from the Pennsylvania Geographical Society (PGS).

The award, which recognizes Kory’s contributions to the discipline of geography and to the society, will be presented at the PGS annual meeting on Oct. 27.

Kory is editor of The Pennsylvania Geographer, a peer-reviewed journal of the PGS. He earned his doctorate at Pitt.


John Harry Evans III has been named Alumni Professor of Accounting in the Katz Graduate School of Business.

Evans earned a BS in economics at the U.S. Air Force Academy, an MA in economics at UCLA and a master’s and PhD in accounting from Carnegie Mellon.


Robert Hill, vice chancellor for Public Affairs, will receive the 2006 Business Communicator of the Year Award from the Pittsburgh chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC).

IABC/Pittsburgh created its Business Communicator of the Year Award in 2004 to recognize individuals for outstanding contributions in practicing, promoting and enhancing professional business communications in western Pennsylvania.

According to a spokesperson for the panel of senior IABC/Pittsburgh communicators who reviewed award nominees, “As vice chancellor and the University’s chief spokesperson, Robert has fostered greater understanding of Pitt’s ever-broadening range of accomplishments and its growing reputation. Robert has done this by building a multi-talented staff whose expertise is evidenced by the more than 450 awards and recognitions garnered for publications and other initiatives.

Hill has led the Office of Public Affairs since 1999. He is responsible for the University’s overall communications strategy, news and information, national media relations, publications, marketing communications, web site development and administration, institutional advertising, video communications, chancellor’s communications, printing services and University spokesperson duties.

Prior to joining Pitt, he was vice president for public relations at Syracuse University.

Hill will be presented with the award Oct. 26 during IABC/Pittsburgh’s 27th annual Golden Triangle Awards program. Also during the program, Public Affairs staff will receive 27 awards for writing, publications and web design, and other communications work.

Leave a Reply